Johannesburg - The force Israel was using in Gaza was unjustifiable because innocent civilians, including children, were being killed, the ANC Chief Whip's office said on Friday.
“We echo the widespread condemnation of these senseless attacks on defenceless Palestinians and call on the government of Israel to immediately cease with this blatant act of criminality,” spokesman Moloto Mothapo said in a statement.
It was unacceptable that while the Israeli military violated the territorial integrity of Gaza, killing hundreds and injuring thousands, the United Nations Security Council failed to decisively intervene.
“The UN Security Council must stand up and act to support vulnerable Palestinian people at the time when they need their protection,” Mothapo said.
The conflict was an undeclared war, with Israel the aggressor. The Palestinian economy was in tatters and its people were being robbed of their land.
“This relentless destruction of the Palestinian territory and its people by Israel must be stopped,” he said.
The international community needed to act in unison on the matter.
“As the ANC in Parliament, we stand unapologetically with the people of Palestine and pro-Palestinian campaigners.”
This was so it could exert pressure on Israel's government to comply with UN Security Council resolutions and stop what it called the persecution of Palestinians.
The African National Congress said the only long-lasting solution was to create two states so Israel and Palestine could exist side-by-side, independently and peacefully, Mothapo said.
“Our strong condemnation of Israel's violent aggression, however, does not in any way mean approval of the continuing firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel, which has put the lives of innocent civilians at risk.”
The French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported on Friday that Israel had warned it could broaden a Gaza ground assault aimed at smashing Hamas's network of cross-border tunnels.
This was as Israel stepped up attacks in which more than 260
Palestinians have been killed, AFP reported.
In the face of Israel's land, sea, and air offensive that has sent civilians running for cover, the Islamist movement Hamas remained defiant and warned the Jewish state it would pay for its attacks.