‘This is ethnic cleansing, genocide’: Palestinian ambassador decries Israel’s calls to evacuate Gaza

'This is ethnic cleansing, genocide': Palestinian ambassador decries Israel's calls to evacuate Gaza
'This is ethnic cleansing, genocide': Palestinian ambassador decries Israel's calls to evacuate Gaza

Africa-Press – South-Africa. Palestinian ambassador to South Africa Hanan Jarrar says many South Africans of Palestinian descent are currently in Gaza amid ongoing fighting in the region with warnings from Israel the enclave must be evacuated in 24 hours.

“Our information is that there are a lot of South Africans of Palestinian descent who are in Gaza right now. One of our citizens sent us text messages about the situation in Gaza right now,” Jarrar said.

Her comments followed news from the Department of International Relations and Cooperations that two South Africans had died in the conflict between Palestine and Israel.

The department condemned Israel’s warnings for 1.1 million in targeted parts of Gaza to leave within 24 hours and said the calls would lead to a catastrophe in the region.

At a press briefing at the Palestine Embassy in Pretoria on Friday, Jarrar said the fighting came about because Israel refused to recognise Palestine’s independence.

She added as long as the Palestinian people were denied their rights and treated as less than human, there would be no lasting peace in the region.

“The international community is obliged to provide international protection for the Palestinian people.

“We demand that Israel cease the illegal colonial occupation and discrimination against the Palestinian people,” Jarrar said.

Israel’s government reacted strongly to the attack on its citizens last Saturday.

Thousands of people have been killed since the outbreak of the violence, both in Gaza and Israel.

Israel’s military has continued to strike parts of Gaza, with the country reportedly preparing for an invasion to retaliate against Hamas.

The US has been Israel’s strongest backer, along with other allies, believing the country had the right to retaliate for the deaths of hundreds of its citizens.

At the same time, more than 100 people were kidnapped by Hamas fighters.

Jarrar said Israel was putting Palestinians’ lives in danger with each passing day.

She added for the government she represented, the deaths of thousands of Palestinians were viewed as ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Jarrar said:

“The World Health Organisation has launched an appeal to open a safe corridor to facilitate the passing of medical treatment.

“There is no electricity, and there is no medication. People in Gaza have no space to bury their people. It is a human catastrophe,” she added.

Jarrar said in a time of war, there was no distinguishing factor between Hamas and the broader fight to free the people of Palestine.

“In testing times and war times, none of us in Palestine politics are discussing what we can offer each other.

“In testing times, Palestine is one, and the message is one. We are in one boat against Israeli aggression.

“There is no Fatah, Hamas, or Palestine liberation. There is the Palestine’s stance. There is one line confronting the biggest enemy of the Palestinian people. This is our position,” she added.

In a statement, the department said Israel should heed calls by the UN to provide food, water and fuel to the people of Gaza.

It added starving people as a means of combat was unlawful according to the Geneva Convention.

“Today’s announcement by Israel giving 1.1 million Gazans 24 hours to leave the northern Gaza Strip and evacuate to the south of Gaza will lead to further catastrophe as, according to humanitarian organisations on the ground, there are not enough resources to host so many IDPs [internally displaced people] in other governorates – not enough shelter, aid, or water.

“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,” department spokesperson Clayson Monyela said.

Meanwhile, National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula cautioned G20 member countries not to take sides.

“There is no winner in the war as we all suffer losses and casualties.

“Sadly, this conflict has resulted in the loss of innocent lives from both sides, particularly women and children,” Mapisa-Nqakula said at the G20 summit in India.

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