Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Naledi Pandor has called for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to charge Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with war crimes against the people of Palestine.
This comes as Israel continues its bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip.
Recent reports by the Palestinian Health Ministry on Tuesday indicated that the death toll from Israel’s ongoing intensified onslaught on the Gaza Strip since October 7 has increased to 10 328 people.
Among the killed are 4 237 children and 2 719 women, as well as more than 25 956 civilians having been reported to have been injured as a result of Israeli forces’ attacks on Gaza.
On Tuesday, Pandor delivered her statement during the debate on the Israel-Hamas war in Parliament, saying there is an urgent need for solution to the ongoing conflict.
She also called for the ICC to act in the best interests of the Palestinian people who are suffering under the onslaught.
Her speech came a day after the South African government announced on Monday that all South African diplomats will be recalled from Israel to show its concern over the current war.
“In its attacks on and kidnapping of innocent civilians, Hamas has also violated international law.
“However, the murder of children, women and the aged by Israel is an act that should have resulted in the criminal court issuing an immediate arrest warrant for key decision-makers including Mr Netanyahu who is responsible for violations of international crimes law,“ the minister said.
The DA’s Emma Powell said civilian safety should be prioritised.
“We call on Israel to ensure that defensive action is carried out within the confines of international law. The DA further calls for the creation of safe zones and humanitarian pause in the fighting to ensure the flow of increase into Gaza and to allow more access to civilians guaranteed,” Powell said.
On Monday, the minister explained why the government decided to recall diplomatic officials from Israel.
Independent Media reported this week that Pandor said there was nothing strange about this, and this was normal practice where there was an issue causing a great deal of concern to government.
“Why recall our embassy officials? This is normal practice when there is a situation which is causing a great deal of harm and concern to our country. You would get your officials to come back to the national setting in order to provide you with a full briefing so that you can make a determination as to whether there is any potential for you to be of assistance and whether the continued relationship is actually able to be sustained in all terms,” said Pandor.
“We need to have this engagement with our officials because, as you are aware, we are extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians in Palestinian territories. We believe the nature of response by Israel has become one of collective punishment, which falls outside the practice of international humanitarian and international human rights law,” said Pandor.