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South Africa pledges $2.7m in humanitarian aid to Gaza

June 12, 2024 at 3:42 pm

Children working in different professions are viewed on ‘World Day Against Child Labour’ in Deir al-Balah city, Gaza on June 11, 2024 [Hasan Jedi – Anadolu Agency]

The South African government will provide 50 million Rand ($2.7m) in humanitarian aid to Gaza, Justice Minister Ronald Lamola has announced at a conference in Jordan, Anadolu has reported.

“In addition to our International Court of Justice (ICJ) case, our government has approved a contribution of 50 million Rand for humanitarian aid to Palestinians to be channelled through UNRWA,” explained Lamola on behalf of President Cyril Ramaphosa at the “Call for Action: Urgent Humanitarian Response for Gaza” conference on Tuesday. He took part via a video link.

The minister pledged that South Africa will continue to support the long-term humanitarian response as well as Gaza reconstruction so that Palestinians can live in peace and dignity.

Israel has faced international condemnation for its continued brutal offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza, which has reduced wide swathes of the coastal territory to ruins amid shortages of necessities and ongoing Israeli restrictions on aid deliveries. Lamola said that South Africa welcomed the UN Security Council’s resolution on a ceasefire in Gaza.

“The State of Israel, as an occupying power, has to allow unhindered access of humanitarian aid into Gaza. This is international humanitarian law… there should be no exception, and Israel is not above international law,” he pointed out.

He added that South Africa recognises and supports the role that UNRWA, Jordan and Egypt have played in delivering aid to Gaza. He said Israel’s ongoing defiance of UN resolutions and international law impedes the delivery of humanitarian aid to Palestinians in dire need.

All states are bound by international humanitarian law, and there is incomprehension why some, like Israel, believe that they are above it, said the justice minister, emphasising the importance of accountability. “South Africa supports efforts by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hold accountable all [individuals] responsible for genocide and massacre in the Gaza Strip.”

He expressed South Africa’s condemnation of Israel’s raid on the Nuseirat Refugee Camp on 8 June, which killed hundreds of Palestinians and wounded hundreds more.

The latest Israeli war started on 7 October when Hamas, the de facto government in Gaza, crossed the border in an incursion during which 1,200 Israelis were killed, many by Israel Defence Forces tanks and helicopters, according to local media. The resistance movement took around 250 people back to Gaza as hostages. The enclave is one of the most crowded places on earth.

Israel’s subsequent offensive has not only killed at least 38,000 Palestinians — mainly children and women — but also created a humanitarian crisis with shortages of food, fuel and medicine as well as water in a territory whose housing and civilian infrastructure is now little more than rubble.

READ: Hamas: Israel trying to evade proposed Gaza ceasefire deal