South Africa’s International Relations Minister, Naledi Pandor, has made a passionate plea for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the creation of humanitarian corridors to facilitate the delivery of vital aid to those affected by the ongoing conflict. Minister Pandor outlined a seven-point plan aimed at swiftly ending the violence and humanitarian crisis in Gaza while paving the way for a more sustainable peace process.
During a statement in the National Assembly, Minister Pandor stressed the importance of South Africa raising its voice in support of an immediate cessation of hostilities and the commencement of a United Nations-mediated peace process in the region.
Gaza has been under an Israeli army siege since October 7, following a Hamas raid that resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,400 Israelis and the abduction of over 200 others. Tragically, the protracted violence and military actions have claimed the lives of over 10,000 Palestinians, predominantly civilians. The conflict has seen hospitals, schools, residential buildings, and United Nations facilities targeted.
Minister Pandor urged all parties involved to demonstrate restraint and refrain from exacerbating the situation, emphasizing the necessity of halting the supply of weapons as part of the path to peace. She also called for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the region, aligning it with Africa’s aspirations.
Furthermore, Minister Pandor advocated for a dialogue process led by Palestinians and Israelis, facilitated by the United Nations, to bring an end to the long-standing conflict and set the stage for the establishment of parallel states. She highlighted the need for a United Nations rapid-deployment force in Palestine with a mandate to enforce the ceasefire, terminate hostilities, and shield civilians from further harm.
Minister Pandor criticized the United Nations, comparing its current state to its failures in the 1990s in Rwanda and Bosnia, and called for its reform to ensure it no longer serves as a tool for the world’s most powerful nations.
In a bold stance, she asserted that the International Criminal Court should have already issued warrants for the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other decision-makers for their clear violations of international protocols. Minister Pandor also condemned the actions of the Israeli government and the kidnapping of civilians by Hamas as violations of international law that should have triggered international action.
South Africa recently recalled members of its diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv in protest against the ongoing bombings, which Minister Pandor described as a “genocide in the making.” The South African government is also considering the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, Eli Belotserkovsky, due to his disparaging comments on the conflict.
As international voices increasingly call for an end to the violence in Gaza, Minister Pandor’s impassioned plea reflects a growing global concern over the ongoing crisis and the urgent need for a peaceful resolution.