SA censures Israel

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Pretoria - South Africa has strongly condemned Israel's attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla and called for a concerted global effort to find a solution to the question of Palestine.

On Monday, more than 10 people were killed when Israeli soldiers raided the vessel, looking for weapons.

The South African Department of International Relations and Cooperation said the convoy, reportedly carrying 10 000 tonnes of aid, was a peaceful mission and the ships were not armed.

"For Israel to attack these civilian ships in international water is a gross violation of international law and is deserving of the highest level of international condemnation," the department said in a statement.

South Africa has urged Israel to lift its siege of the Gaza Strip, which has caused untold hardship for the ordinary people of Gaza and prompted the international community to organise relief efforts for the territory.

" ... And Israel stands solely responsible for the loss of life in the attack on the flotilla," the statement noted.

The department also referred to the UN report written by a team led by former international war crimes prosecutor Richard Goldstone which was critical of Israel for carrying out military actions in Gaza with the resultant loss of life of innocent civilians.

South Africa called for a concerted international effort to bring about a broader solution to the question of Palestine, which will ultimately contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East.

The statement expressed hope that the international community would seriously address Israel's act of aggression, which took place in international waters and involved citizens from across the globe.

Many governments around the world shared South Africa's sentiments and summoned Israeli ambassadors to meetings.

Meanwhile, the department said it was doing all it could to help the family of a South African journalist, who was on board the Turkish aid ship attacked by Israeli marines.

It is reported that Radio 786 reporter Khadija Davids was part of a mission to take medical and food supplies to Gaza.

Spokesperson Saul Molibi told BuaNews that are speaking to their missions abroad to get more information about Davids' whereabouts.

"As soon as we get any confirmation from our mission we should be able to communicate this first to the family and also to the general public," said Molibi.