Zuma: Israel, Hamas must end aggression

2014-07-20 15:48
President Jacob Zuma delivering his address at the Brics summit in Fortaleza, Brazil. (AFP)

President Jacob Zuma delivering his address at the Brics summit in Fortaleza, Brazil. (AFP)

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Johannesburg - The Israeli defence force and Hamas must end all forms of aggression towards each other, President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

"The Israeli defence force must immediately withdraw from the Gaza strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories," he said in a speech prepared for delivery.

"We equally condemn the continuing firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel, putting lives of innocent civilians at risk."

Zuma was speaking at the launch of the African National Congress's Imvuselelo Campaign in Bloemfontein, in the Free State.

He said the ANC urged Hamas and Israel to work towards a ceasefire agreement and that negotiations between the two for a permanent resolution resume.

"We strongly oppose the continuous construction and expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories by the Israeli government, which violates international law, gravely undermines peace efforts and threatens the viability of the two-state solution," Zuma said.

"We welcome recent efforts to achieve intra-Palestinian unity, including the formation of a national unity government and steps towards conducting general elections."

This was key for a democratic and sustainable Palestinian state, he said.

According to Agence France-Presse, the death toll in Gaza passed 400 on Sunday. It was day 13 of the deadliest violence in the enclave in five years.

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