Ramaphosa calls for ICC to probe Israel

President Cyril Ramaphosa wants an end to the conflict in Gaza. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspapers

President Cyril Ramaphosa wants an end to the conflict in Gaza. Picture: Itumeleng English/Independent Newspapers

Published Nov 16, 2023


The escalation of the conflict in Palestine will culminate in a debate in Parliament on Thursday, to be led by EFF leader Julius Malema who is calling for the government to cut ties with Israel.

This comes a day after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in Qatar that South Africa has referred Israel to the International Criminal Court to be investigated for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The ANC said on Thursday it welcomed the announcement by Ramaphosa to refer Israel to the ICC to be probed for war crimes.

Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor also said in Parliament last week, during a debate on the Palestine conflict, that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his senior officials should be investigated by the ICC for war crimes.

Cabinet raised this issue two weeks ago where it called on the ICC to probe war crimes in Gaza because of the targeting of civilians.

More than 12,000 people have been killed in the conflict since it began early last month.

The debate in Parliament follows a motion that was tabled by Malema for government to cut ties with Israel.

The ANC said the decision by Ramaphosa to refer Israel to the ICC was a correct decision.

“The ANC welcomes the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that our government has put through a referral to the ICC. We cannot sit back and watch the genocidal actions of the Israeli regime. Ramaphosa has stated clearly that the ANC-led government as well as the ANC does not condone any form of violence directed at citizens,” said the ANC.

It added that South Africa was not alone in the matter, as it has support from other countries.

ANC secretary-general Fikile Mbalula also said over the weekend, during a march in Cape Town, that government must cut ties with Israel.

Anti-apartheid activist Allan Boesak, ANC MP Mandla Mandela and other civil society organisations also called for the government to expel the Israeli ambassador and shut down the embassy in Pretoria.

Ramaphosa said this week in his discussions with the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, they expressed horror at the escalation of the conflict in Gaza and the killing of civilians.

“We both abhorred what is happening right now in Gaza, which has now turned into a concentration camp where genocide is taking place. We stated our position as South Africa very clearly that we are opposed to the operations that are ongoing, particularly as they are now targeting hospitals where babies, women and the injured are dying like flies.

“As South Africa, we have accordingly, with many other countries in the world saw fit to refer this whole Israeli government action to the International Criminal Court. We have put through a referral because we believe that war crimes are being committed there. Of course, we do not condone the actions that were taken by Hamas earlier, but similarly, we condemn the actions that are currently under way and believe that they warrant the investigation by the ICC,” said Ramaphosa.

He said he also welcomed efforts by Qatar and Al Thani to seek a solution to the conflict.

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