The Cabinet reiterated the call by African leaders to end the conflict in Gaza, during the Afro-Saudi summit in Riyadh hosted by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
The summit condemned the targeting of civilians and violations of international law by the Israeli government.
“The world cannot just sit back and watch. The global community must stand up to end this genocide now,” Minister of the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said Monday during a press briefing on the results of the the Cabinet meeting.
Ntshavheni said the Cabinet continues to be concerned about the atrocities committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinian people, including the deliberate attacks on the United Nations school in Gaza and the massacre of hundreds of children who had taken refuge in this school. Added to this are continued attacks on hospital staff, patients and hospital infrastructure.
Ntshavheni noted that it is because of these continued atrocities committed with impunity by the Israeli government with the support and protection of powerful countries that, on November 17, 2023, South Africa, along with Comoros, Djibouti, Bolivia and Bangladesh, jointly referred the situation in Palestine and Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Although the Palestinian Authority requested the ICC to investigate crimes within the court’s jurisdiction in 2018, the minister said South Africa believes that current atrocities, particularly in Gaza, require a renewed attention with the full support of States Parties.
“Our ambassador in The Hague personally delivered the referral, which calls on the ICC to investigate the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide with a view to holding those most responsible to account. Given As much of the global community witnesses the commission of these crimes in real time, including declarations of genocidal intent by many Israeli leaders, we expect arrest warrants for these leaders, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, will be issued shortly.
“The ICC has been able to investigate the situation in Palestine since 2021, when the question of territorial jurisdiction was resolved, but we have found that the prosecutor’s office continues to drag its feet despite the seriousness of the situation . Current atrocities This might not have happened if these investigations had taken place as soon as the Palestinian authorities made their first referral.”
Ntshavheni said South Africa now expects other state parties to also add their voices to end Israel’s impunity and the significant levels of evidence available, that international arrest warrants will be issued by the time the Conference of the Parties meets in mid-2017. December in New York.
“Failure to do so would be a sign of a lack of will to act on the part of the ICC and a strong signal of the total failure of the global system of good governance and the need to establish a new system.”
The minister also noted that more children have been killed in the past month than the annual number of people killed in all conflicts combined over the past three years. This includes more United Nations (UN) personnel who have been killed in Gaza since the creation of the United Nations.
“The number of journalists killed is staggering. These are all people killed by the actions of the Israeli government, not in self-defense, but as evidenced by its leaders’ declarations to rid most of Gaza of Palestinians and to “occupy,” the statement said. » declared the minister.