Cape Town - While the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) confirmed that two South Africans have been killed during the conflict between Palestine and Israel, some have made it back home safely to their families after a near week-long nightmare while others are fighting to survive.
Weekend Argus spoke with South Africans living in Israel who are witnessing the violence, seeking refuge in bomb shelters while trying to aid fellow country women and men to find their loved ones during the chaos.
In their latest statement DIRCO said they condemned in the strongest possible terms Israel’s violation of the Geneva Conventions and the abandonment of International Humanitarian Law in Gaza, by their intentional denial of food, water, electricity, and fuel to the people of Gaza.
They called on immediate supplies to the area and resources to be restored.
“South Africa calls on Israel to immediately heed the calls of the UN Secretary General, the plethora of humanitarian organisations operating in Gaza, and a number of governments around the world to immediately provide water, food, fuel, and electricity to the people of Gaza. South Africa also calls for the release of the Israeli hostages taken into Gaza,” they said.
Esther Rosenblum of Johannesburg who has made Israel her home for the past three years said, “We are slowly gaining back control of the areas that were ambushed by Hamas and horrific images are being found of beheaded babies, murdered seniors and children and women.”
Rosenblum has been selfless in her quest to help fellow South Africans find their loved ones and to provide essential needs such as water and food.
Since Saturday, Rosenblum has been in a shelter.
She has witnessed violence no other, babies being raped and murdered to young men being forced to war.
“Right now Hamas.. a terrorist organization has captured small children, old people and entire families, they are holding them hostage, and murdering entire families including children and women, raping them and parading them in the streets while they are celebrating,” she said via a social media platform and warned that Whatsapp network’s were not safe and secure.
“It is inhumane and barbaric and extremely scary
“I am helping to host displaced families that have had their loved ones murdered or kidnapped as well as their homes destroyed
“We are also trying to help any families that have had their men called up to war with supplies and whatever they need
“I have been living here for around 3 years now.
“My family and I are safe and I am in touch with my family and friends back in South Africa
“There are many many South Africans here that are either visiting or have immigrated here
“We have been in and out of bomb shelters since Saturday
“We are extremely united and look out for each other
“Right now 40 babies and young children were found murdered and beheaded in one of the settlements in the South that was taken over by Hamas on Saturday.”
On Thursday, October 11, was the first time in six days that Robyn Ferreria slept after her 20-year-old son, Jared Nel returned home from Israel.
Jared, of Durban, had been in Israel since February and was there for a gap year Jewish program and was expected to come back home in November.
On Saturday, October 7, Nel’s worst nightmare began trying to bring her son home safely.
“My son is very emotional now as he had to leave many of his friends there and he does not want to speak right now,” she said.
“Since Saturday, it has been a whirlwind of emotions.
“He left Israel on Wednesday and had to travel via Ethiopian airways and when he arrived in Johannesburg, we had to book him into a hotel as there were no flights available to Durban until Thursday morning.
“To have him home is a relief, the South Africans there are not involved in what is happening there.”
Earlier this week, DIRCO’s Clayson Monyela told Weekend Argus they had not received any pleas for help from South Africa’s.
Monyela told the media they could confirm the deaths of two South Africans but had to determine whether one had dual citizenship.
On Saturday, October 7, a surprise attack was launched by the militant wing of Hamas on Israel from Gaza.
In response, Israel launched a series of rockets leading to a full-blown war.
The conflict has left thousands dead.
In Cape Town, The Al-Quds Foundation (SA) called for people to gather in a mass protest march for Palestine.
Various mosques around the city were involved.
The march began along Keizersgracht Street and proceeded to Parliament and drew droves of people from all walks of life and religion.
Younis Allie, National Coordinator said the aim of the march was create awareness and express unwavering support for our Palestinian brothers and sisters who continue
to endure hardships under the shadow of an Oppressive Apartheid Regime.
“The march is an opportunity for the people of Cape Town to echo the principles of justice, equality, and freedom for all, transcending boundaries and standing against the Israeli Apartheid Regime.
“As Nelson Mandela once declared, "South Africa's freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestinians." South Africa, with its rich history of resilience against oppression, has the moral duty to extend its hand in solidarity.”
“Participants were encouraged to wear Palestinian regalia and to be peaceful.