Hostage rescue: DIRCO condemns raid on Nuseirat refugee camp

Dept appalled that these attacks are being praised by some, for saving four Israeli hostages

South African Government condemns the unlawful and callous targeting of the Nuseirat refugee camp by the Israeli occupation forces

09 Jun 2024

The South African Government condemns Israel’s raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp on 8 June 2024. This attack, consisting of air, land and sea attacks on innocent civilians in a designated safe zone, is one of the single worst massacres committed by the Israeli occupation forces in Gaza.

We are appalled that these attacks are being praised by some, for saving four Israeli hostages, while killing and severely injuring hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians. While families mourn the loss of life, Israeli Defence Minister, Yoav Gallant jubilantly termed the operation “daring in nature, planned brilliantly, and executed in an extraordinary fashion.” This once again raises the question of whether some believe that Palestinian lives matter.

This heinous attack by Israel comes at a time when significant progress to reach a negotiated outcome based on a much-needed ceasefire and the release of hostages and prisoners were at a break-through stage.

The attacks undermine this political process and raises the fundamental question as to whether Israel, the occupying power, is in any way committed to ongoing mediation efforts and ultimately the Middle East Peace Process.

The Government and people of South Africa convey its deepest condolences to the families and the victims of these callous attacks on the Nuseirat refugee camp and decry the rising death toll estimated at 226 Palestinians.

The Government further notes with utmost shock and concern the report from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) that the Al-Aqsa and Nasser hospitals are treating an “overwhelming number of severely injured patients, many of whom are women and children”. These continuous attacks on sources of care, shelter and protection for the civilian population who continues to bear the brunt of these inhumane attacks as part of a systematic annihilation of life-saving means for innocent Palestinian people.

The indiscriminate targeting of vulnerable groups, notably children, defies the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, as well as the applicable international humanitarian and human rights law.

The international community must act immediately to bring to an end the aggression meted against Palestinians. It is our collective human duty to call for a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire. Nothing can justify the deliberate killings and injuring of civilians as an entire population endures destruction at a scale and speed without parallel in recent history. In this regard, we once again call on the United Nations Security Council to assume its responsibility to halt this ongoing genocide and to prevent a further escalation into a wider regional conflict.

The South African Government concurs with the comment by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Ms Francesca Albanese “This is genocidal intent turned into action. Crystal clear”.

Statement issued by Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), 9th June 2024