SAZF condemns Dirco's response to hostage rescue in Gaza

Hamas to blame for civilian casualties in rescue operation, says Federation

The SAZF celebrates the brave and skillful rescue of four hostages from Gaza

June 10 2024

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) strongly condemns the inflammatory and grossly biased statement issued by the outgoing South African government regarding the heroic hostage rescue operation carried out by the soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), the Israel Security Agency (ISA), and the Israel Police Force (Yamam) in Nuseirat in central Gaza.

This remarkable operation on Saturday successfully rescued four innocent Israeli civilians who had been cruelly abducted by the terrorist group Hamas. Noa Argamani (25), Almog Meir Jan (21), Andrey Kozlov (27), and Shlomi Ziv (40) were violently seized by Hamas last October from the 'Nova' music festival. For months, they were held captive in unbearable conditions in the dense and heavily-populated Nuseirat area. Palestinian Chronicle journalist Andullah Aljamal, who also wrote an article for Al Jazeera, held the three men captive in a civilian area.

Yet in a meticulously planned and brilliantly executed mission, the combined Israeli forces stormed two separate buildings where the hostages were being held, extracting them to safety without a single one being harmed. This was an operation of exceptional skill, bravery, and coordination, with the forces facing heavy gunfire from Hamas fighters armed with RPGs and machine guns as they made their daring rescue.

Tragically, one of Israel's most elite counter-terrorism fighters, Arnon Zamora, made the ultimate sacrifice in service of this mission to save his fellow citizens. We mourn his loss and honour his heroism.

The operation has once again proved that Hamas uses innocents as a shield in a diabolical strategy to avoid being held accountable for their terrorist slaughter.

We condemn the South African government's attempts to label this operation a "massacre" - these are not only grossly inaccurate but serve as shameful propaganda for the terrorist group Hamas. While any loss of innocent life is tragic, the fault lies squarely with the terrorists who recklessly endangered civilians by using them as human shields. The combined Israeli forces took meticulous steps to avoid harming bystanders, even as they came under heavy fire.

This was an act of heroism and moral courage in the face of pure evil. We applaud the skill, bravery, and restraint demonstrated by the Israeli forces who risked their lives to rescue their fellow citizens from the clutches of terrorism.

We condemn the South African government's baseless accusations and their transparent efforts to act as a propaganda mouthpiece for Hamas. This is a despicable attempt to rewrite the history of a remarkable military operation undertaken to protect innocent lives.

We call on the international community to see through the South African government's distortions and recognise the actions of the combined Israeli forces for what they were - a principled and courageous effort to rescue hostages and safeguard civilians in the face of terrorist aggression. The SAZF stands with Israel and the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to defend their people.

In South Africa there has not been adequate understanding of precisely what occurred in Israel on the tragic day in October last year. To increase awareness, the SAZF is tonight hosting a SA-born survivor of the Hamas attack on Kibbutz Be’eri.

Issued by Rolene Marks, SAZF, 10 June 2024