ICC should issue arrest warrant for Netanyahu's violations: Naledi Pandor
The International Criminal Court in The Hague should have arrested Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu for the killing of women, children and the elderly in his country's war with Palestine.
This is what international relations minister Naledi Pandor told MPs on Tuesday when she delivered a ministerial statement on the Israel-Palestine war in the National Assembly.
“The murder of children, women and the aged by Israel is an act that should have resulted in the ICC issuing an immediate arrest warrant for key decision-makers including Mr [Benjamin] Netanyahu, who’s responsible for violations of international criminal law,” Pandor said.
She said the conflict could be solved only through the establishment of two states, with Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace.
The minister said South Africa remained steadfast in calling for an immediate ceasefire and the opening of all humanitarian corridors to ensure much-needed aid and basic services reached those in need.
Palestine has enjoyed the support of the South African government since the war erupted in the Gaza strip on October 7.
Pandor said South Africa joined the world in expressing horror at the war crimes being committed in Palestine, targeting civilians, public infrastructure, UN premises and other vulnerable targets.
“These actions remind us of our experiences as black South Africans living under apartheid. This is one of the key reasons South Africana and black people in cities all over the world have taken to the streets to express their anger and concern at what is taking place in Gaza and the West Bank.”
These demonstrations, she said, illustrate the frustration felt by the world over people being attacked and losing their lives with little or no action to stop the atrocities.
Pandor said the facts detailing the devastation are horrendous.
“More than 1,000 Palestinians are dead, thousands injured, public facilities destroyed, and cruel and wanton bombardment is ongoing. Therefore, as South Africa, we remain steadfast in calling for an immediate, comprehensive ceasefire.
“The actions that we are witnessing daily by Israel are a violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and the Geneva Convention and all of its protocols.”
In turn, she said, in its attacks and kidnapping of innocent civilians, Hamas has also violated international law.
“While we express horror at the violence, it's critical that we acknowledge that the illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel for several decades has led to bitter hatred and increased violence and that this violence is not the first violence that the people of Palestine have experienced.”
Palestinians have been experiencing this for decades “and nothing we can say can obliterate that fact”.
However, she said: “The murder of children, women and the aged by Israel is an act that should have resulted in the International Criminal Court issuing an immediate arrest warrant for key decision-makers including Mr (Benjamin) Netanyahu, who’s responsible for violations of international criminal law.
“It’s important to stress that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be solved only through the establishment of two states, Palestine and Israel, living side by side in peace. The Palestinian state should be created along the lines of the 1967 border with east Jerusalem as its capital and in line with standing multiple UN resolutions.”
Pandor said for the two states to materialise a peace process initiated by the UN needs to commence urgency.
She said SA was aware of increasing settlements and illegal occupation being used to make the creation of a Palestinian state almost impossible.
“The world must reject the bantustan-type Balkanisation that has increased bitterness and hatred. We must reinforce all efforts aimed at creating two states.”
The collective punishment that Israel is exerting on all Palestinian people is an affront that has gone on for too long. Pandor said the world has expressed horror at Israel but has not acted effectively to save the lives of Palestinians.
“Sadly, even here in our own country there are those who choose to turn a blind eye to these atrocities,” said Pandor.
She said on October 27 South Africa was among the two thirds of UN member states that called in the UN General Assembly for an immediate ceasefire.
“This decision of the General Assembly has been ignored,” said Pandor.
She added that it was impossible for SA to continue to proclaim the importance of international law and the UN Charter for some situations and not for others “as if the rule of law only applies to a select few”.
Israel, she said, is an occupying power confirmed by the International Court of Justice and the UN.
The minister said the notion of Israel’s right to defend itself through military means had been used “erroneously” in international law by many, and deliberately by others, to justify the unlawful use of force by Israel on the people of Palestinian and the West Bank.
Pandor said genocide “unfortunately looms large in the current situation in Gaza”.
“The system has failed the people of Palestine.”
Pandor called for peace talks facilitated by the UN.
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