In a show of unwavering solidarity with the people of Palestine, South Africa has strongly condemned Israel’s bombing of the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza.
The attack, which tragically claimed the lives of more than 500 innocent people and injured over 1,000 others, has been labelled a “war crime” by the South African government.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation, also known as the Foreign Ministry, expressed its outrage at the Israeli airstrike and emphasised that targeting civilians during armed conflicts is a clear violation of international humanitarian laws and the Geneva Conventions. In a statement, the ministry condemned the attack, comparing it to the abhorrent act committed by Hamas on civilians in Israel, stating that there are simply no words to fully express the country’s condemnation of Israel’s actions.
This is not the first time that South Africa has spoken out against Israel’s atrocities in the occupied Palestinian territories. The country’s Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, recently held discussions with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to explore ways to provide much-needed humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. South Africa has consistently shown its solidarity and support for the people of Palestine, as reaffirmed by Minister Pandor during the call with Haniyeh.
While expressing sadness over the loss of innocent lives on both sides—Palestinians and Israelis—Minister Pandor made it clear that the bombing of the Ahli Arab Baptist hospital was an unacceptable act that cannot be justified under any circumstances. The deliberate targeting of healthcare facilities, homes, and houses of worship, as witnessed during the current conflict, has sparked a wave of international condemnation. Non-governmental groups and world leaders are increasingly denouncing the Israeli bombing campaign on the besieged Gaza Strip, stating that it not only violates international law but may also constitute a war crime.
South Africa’s stance on the matter aligns with its commitment to upholding human rights, justice, and international law. The country has a long history of battling against apartheid and oppression, making it particularly sensitive to situations where the rights and dignity of individuals are compromised. The government’s condemnation of Israel’s actions reflects its firm belief in the importance of holding accountable those who commit war crimes and violate the sanctity of human life.
According to reports from Palestinian officials in the besieged enclave, a significant number of individuals lost their lives in an airstrike on a hospital on Tuesday. Israel, however, has denied any involvement in the air raid.
The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas began on Oct. 7, when Hamas initiated Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, a multi-pronged surprise attack that included rocket launches and infiltrations into Israel by land, sea, and air. Hamas claimed that the incursion was in retaliation for the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and growing violence by Israeli settlers.
In response, the Israeli military launched Operation Swords of Iron against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip. The loss of life on both sides has been significant, with at least 3,478 Palestinians and more than 1,400 people in Israel losing their lives in the conflict.
As the situation continues to unfold, it is important for all parties involved to prioritise diplomacy and seek peaceful solutions to the ongoing conflict.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict continues to be a source of immense suffering for both sides, leaving countless innocent civilians trapped in a cycle of violence and despair. South Africa’s condemnation of the bombing of the Gaza hospital is a clear message that such actions will not go unnoticed or unchallenged. As a nation that understands the pain inflicted by injustice and violence, South Africa stands in solidarity with the oppressed, calling for an end to the bloodshed and a just resolution to the conflict.