'The killing of children must urgently be addressed': SA slams Israeli attacks on Gaza

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  • Dirco has condemned the recent Israeli attacks, which saw more than 10 people killed in the last 48 hours.
  • A five-year-old child was also killed. 
  • The United Nations Secretary-General’s report on children in armed conflict states there has been an alarming increase in grave violations against children.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) strongly condemns the Israeli attacks on Gaza, which over the last 48 hours resulted in the death of more than 10 people, including a five-year-old child.

Dirco said it was of grave concern that Israeli military statements indicate the operation would “take a long time” and that the ongoing attacks continue to place innocent civilians at severe risk.

"Attacks that kill innocent civilians have no justification, and they are more abhorrent as they are committed by an occupying power which has besieged the Gaza Strip for over a decade in contravention of international law. As an occupying power, Israel has specific obligations in terms of international human rights and humanitarian law, which it continues to breach without being held accountable,” said spokesperson Clayson Monyela.

The international community has an obligation to ensure international law is not violated indiscriminately and to urgently stop the Israeli occupation forces' repeated attacks against civilians, especially women and children as well as the illegal blockade in Gaza.

"The killing of children by the Israeli government must urgently be addressed,” said Monyela.

READ | EU calls for maximum restraint in latest Gaza violence

He said the United Nations Secretary-General’s report on children in armed conflict states there has been an alarming increase in grave violations against children, particularly the significant rise in the killing and maiming of children in the Occupied Palestinian Territory by Israeli forces during hostilities, air strikes on densely populated areas and the use of live ammunition during law enforcement operations.

He said:

It is disheartening to note in the report the verification of 2 934 grave violations against 1 208 Palestinian children and nine Israeli children. Accountability for these violations must be upheld to ensure these violations do not continue. In this regard, South Africa concurs with the secretary-general’s proposal that action must be taken to include Israel and other groups as listed parties, should they not put in place measures to prevent violations and improve the protection of children.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor previously said the country was “concerned at the continued human rights violations in the occupied territories and again reiterates that such violations only contribute to the fostering of hatred.”

Pandor stressed that Israel’s security and that of its future generations do not lie in the annexation of all Palestinian territories, the imprisonment of Palestinians, the erecting of high concrete walls and checkpoints, or the continued blockade of Gaza, but rather in a peaceful and stable neighbour.

"This can be achieved through sustained dialogue, negotiations, and mediation, by both sides respecting one another and through compromise and understanding,” she said.

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