South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has made an appeal to the United Nations to spearhead the peace process concerning the ongoing Gaza conflict. He also emphasized the importance of halting arms supplies to both Israel and Hamas, highlighting that such actions by various nations only exacerbate tensions in the region.
Speaking at the Gaza peace summit held in Cairo, Egypt, Ramaphosa articulated South Africa’s stance that negotiations remain the sole viable path to achieving peace. The summit saw attendance from numerous global leaders from the Middle East, Europe, and other regions.
Egyptian President Abdela Fattah el-Sisi extended an invitation to Ramaphosa to participate in the summit. Among the notable attendees were UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, and various EU representatives. Japan, Russia, and China also sent their respective foreign affairs representatives to the summit.
South Africa’s Stance on the Conflict
Ramaphosa expressed the urgency for the UN to take the helm in brokering a peace agreement between Israel and Hamas. He voiced strong opposition to the targeting of civilians amidst the conflict, stating:
“In our capacity as South Africa, we staunchly believe that the attacks on civilians in Israel, the ongoing Gaza blockade, and the decision to forcibly relocate Gaza’s inhabitants, coupled with the indiscriminate use of force, are in direct violation of international law. Beyond legal implications, such actions deeply offend our shared human values. We urge an immediate halt to hostilities, the safe release of captives, an end to the Gaza blockade, the establishment of humanitarian pathways, and the swift delivery of essential aid to Gaza’s residents. We further advocate for a negotiation process under the UN’s guidance to address the Israeli-Palestinian discord,” Ramaphosa conveyed.
He further stressed that nations providing arms to the conflicting parties should immediately cease such actions, reiterating that peace remains the only sustainable resolution.
The Current State of the Conflict
The conflict, which erupted a mere two weeks prior, has already resulted in the tragic loss of thousands of lives. During this period, Gaza has experienced a siege, with Israel amassing a significant military presence near the Gaza border in anticipation of a potential invasion. This military strategy followed directives for residents in northern Gaza to relocate to the city’s southern region.
However, these actions have not gone unnoticed on the global stage, with widespread international criticism, particularly concerning the restriction of essential supplies like food, water, and fuel to Gaza. UN agencies operating within the city have reported being overwhelmed by the current circumstances.