Members of the media heard from Hamas representative in Iran, Khaled Qaddoumi, and senior Hamas official and former Gaza health minister, Basem Naim at a media conference in Imam Haron Hall in Cape Town.
Qaddoumi said that as it stands, there is “one Israeli state,” adding that the rules are so strict that Israel authorities are not letting Palestinians fish even 10km into the sea.
“The two-state solution and other solutions they are coming up with and the diplomatic actions don’t work. What happens to the children’s dreams? They are not aliens; they are human beings like you and me. The two-state solution is not viable. We need another solution,” said Qaddoumi.
“What happens to the dreams of the Palestinian children? They are not aliens; they are human beings like you and me. The message from the global community to Palestine is to go and die.”
Naim backed this sentiment that the two-state solution is not working.
“The two-state solution has been undermined and destroyed by Israel. If there is a way to achieve long-lasting peace, then sure. But we want the rights of Palestinian people to be realised, and we want the return of Palestinians to their land.
Naim added that the narrative that Hamas attacked civilians at the music festival was fabricated. Naim said while Hamas did in fact initiate an attack on Israel on October 7, he denied targeting civilians; a claim backed by an Israeli newspaper publication.
The Hamas attack on October 7 was an act of defence, said Naim, and stressed this was not the start of the violence.
“The story didn’t start on October 7. It started in 1948, when people were displaced from their homes and massacred. We are calling for the Israeli aggression to stop. We are negotiating for a permanent ceasefire. We are talking about a political conflict, and this political conflict cannot be solved through military tools. We are calling for the Rafah crossing to be opened so 2 million people can have access to food, water, and aid. We call for the lifting of the siege unconditionally. We have committed no sin.”
He said the only “mistake” was electing the resistance into power.
Naim said that while they do appreciate the efforts of the South African government and have highlighted good present and historical ties, the South African government can do more.
“As the late honourable Nelson Mandela said, South African freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians. We do appreciate the efforts by the South African government, but we are looking for more pressure on the Israeli government. This means a full boycott and cutting all ties to Israel.”
Hamas and Israel announced an extension of the truce deal minutes before it was due to expire.
A total of sixteen Israeli and foreign captives were freed from Gaza, while 30 Palestinian female and child prisoners were released from Israeli jails in the sixth phase of the deal.
Since October 7, more than 15,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza. In Israel, the official death toll stands at about 1,200.