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21 Nov, 2023 15:42

Hamas violated international law – South Africa

Pretoria condemns “all acts of violence,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said at a meeting of BRICS leaders
Hamas violated international law – South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned Hamas for taking Israeli civilians as hostages, and insisted that the Palestinian militant group should face punishment. Ramaphosa’s government has also been outspoken in its criticism of Israel.

Speaking at a BRICS+ summit on Tuesday, Ramaphosa said that Hamas’ actions on October 7 – including the killing of around 1,200 people and the kidnapping of around 240 hostages – represent a violation of international law.

“We condemn all acts of violence… including those aimed at Israeli civilians,” Ramaphosa said, adding that “civilians must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law.”

The South African president, who hosted the virtual summit, said that BRICS leaders and delegates from prospective member states all agreed that “there must be an immediate release of all civilians who are being held.”

South Africa is traditionally a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, with politicians in Pretoria likening the Palestinian struggle for independence to their own fight against apartheid in the 20th century. 

As such, Ramaphosa has repeatedly condemned Israel’s response to Hamas’ October 7 attack, accusing the Jewish state of waging a campaign of “genocide” against Gaza. On Monday, South African Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told reporters that Pretoria had called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by mid-December, after Ramaphosa said that his government had asked the court to investigate Israel for alleged war crimes.

Israel responded by recalling its ambassador to South Africa.

At Tuesday’s summit, Ramaphosa again accused Israel of war crimes and labeled its occupation of Palestinian territory as the root cause of the conflict.