The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) confirmed on Tuesday that Minister Naledi Pandor received a request to call the Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh to discuss getting humanitarian aid to Palestine.
“During the call, and in line with the government’s position, Minister Pandor reiterated South Africa’s solidarity and support for the people of Palestine and expressed sadness and regret for the loss of innocent lives, both Palestinians and Israelis.
“Minister Pandor and the Hamas leader discussed how to get the necessary humanitarian aid to Gaza and other parts of the Palestinian territories,” the statement read.
However, according to the department, reports that Pandor also offered support for the ‘Battle of Al-Aqsa Flood’ are untrue and meant to “impugn” the Minister and the South African government.
“Minister Pandor’s call with the Hamas leader is in line with South Africa’s readiness to engage all interlocutors as part of facilitating dialogue to end the ongoing conflict. South Africa, therefore, calls on all sides to seize the opportunity for peace as opposed to violence, and for the international community to actively advocate for the implementation of its own international resolutions and establish a credible peace process.”
Meanwhile, according to the department, South Africa stands ready to share its experience in mediation and conflict resolution as it has done on the continent and around the world.
According to the latest reports, about 2 808 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air raids, while Israelis killed in Hamas’s attack and military operation stands at about 1 400, including 286 soldiers.
President Cyril Ramaphosa used his weekly newsletter on Monday to call for an immediate cessation of acts of war between Israel and Palestine, the opening of humanitarian corridors and a United Nations-led negotiation process towards resolving the conflict.
President Ramaphosa said this must lead to a just and lasting peace that satisfies the human rights, dignity and aspirations of all the people on both sides of this conflict.
The President noted that South Africans, like many across the globe, have watched with great anguish and pain the devastating violence and destruction in Israel and Gaza since Saturday last week.
“It has never been our nature as South Africans to reserve our empathy only for those with whom we share an ethnic, racial, religious or cultural affinity.
“As South Africans, we have made it part of our national DNA to stand firm against all forms of prejudice, including racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and xenophobia. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of both Palestine and Israel as they go through these difficult times,” the President said.
He said he hoped that the Israeli and Palestinian people come together, reconcile and choose the path of a just peace.