SA condemns killing of Hamas cleric
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By Lee Rondganger and Zoubair Ayoob
"Cowardly" and "dastardly" were just some of the words used by local Islamic community and religious leaders to describe the killing of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.
The department of foreign affairs said the killing of the wheelchair-bound, 67-year-old Hamas leader and several others was in contravention of international law and United Nations conventions, which would only add to the cycle of violence in the Middle East.
Foreign affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa called on Palestinians to show restraint.
"Such acts will further continue to erode any progress being made in the implementation of the (Middle East peace) road map and will eventually lead to the complete cessation of implementation.
"In addition, the South African government reiterates that the only way to end violence and such extra-judicial acts is to end the occupation of Palestinian territories and for both sides to return to unconditional negotiations."
"We also call on the United Nations and the international community to act decisively to create the conditions for the two-state solution to be realised," he said.
Palestine Solidarity Committee spokesperson Naeem Jeenah said the "genocide of the Palestinian people has just been intensified" by the murder of Yassin.
In Durban, cleric Moulana Abdur Raoof Soofie said the killing of "the liberal" Yassin would fan the flames of animosity.
"If you kill the liberals, it will harden attitudes further," he said.
University of KwaZulu-Natal lecturer and political analyst Lubna Nadvi said: "This is a defining moment. The Israeli government made a huge mistake and have turned their backs on the peace process."
Russell Gaddin, chairperson of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, refused to comment on Monday night.