President calls for UN to lead negotiations to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflict

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for a United Nations-led negotiation process towards resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The international community has a responsibility and a duty to support peace, and to create favourable conditions for negotiation and dialogue,” the President said on Saturday.

He made these remarks at the Cairo Summit for Peace, which discussed the ongoing escalation of the conflict in Israel and the Gaza Strip, and the urgent need for humanitarian support.

“As South Africa, we hold the firm view that the attack on civilians in Israel, the ongoing siege of Gaza and the decision to forcibly move the people of Gaza, together with the indiscriminate use of force through bombing, are violations of international law. More than that, these acts are an affront to our common humanity.

“We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, the release of hostages, the lifting of the siege of Gaza, the opening of humanitarian corridors and the urgent provision of humanitarian aid on the required scale to the people of Gaza,” President Ramaphosa said.

The international community, the President said, has a responsibility and duty to support peace and create favourable conditions for negotiation and dialogue.

“As South Africans, we can relate to what is happening to Palestinians. Our people waged a brave and courageous struggle to achieve their freedom and were subjected to untold suffering just like the Palestinians are going through.

“The nightmare of apartheid was only brought to an end by the relentless struggle of our people and the courage and foresight of leaders, who put aside their differences and sought peace rather than revenge.

“We believe that peace is the only option to bring about peace between Israel and Palestine. To achieve this, steps must be taken now. We therefore call on all parties to exercise restraint and on all state actors to desist from providing weapons to either of the sides to the conflict,” the President said.

He expressed concern that the response of the Israeli government to the attack on its citizens will further deepen a conflict that has engulfed the region for many decades, and will make the attainment of a just and lasting peace even more difficult.

“We are also concerned that this conflict can spread to include other countries in the region. This must be avoided at all costs. The only way to bring about peace is the fulfilment of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to human rights, dignity and statehood.

“This is in line with the decisions that have been taken by the United Nations that guarantees statehood for both Israel and Palestine based on the 1967 borders. Only through a negotiated settlement, supported by the international community, can the people of Israel achieve the security they seek and the people of Palestine realise the freedom they deserve,” President Ramaphosa said.

He encouraged the international community to call for a ceasefire, find a sustainable solution to the conflict and stand on the side of peace, justice and human rights for all. –

Source: South African Government News Agency