South Africa

Dirco sets record straight on alleged government support for Hamas in Gaza conflict

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has refuted claims the government has offered support to Gaza group Hamas amid the current conflict in the Middle East.

Today marks 10 days of fighting, with Israel retaliating to an October 7 attack by Hamas.

Thousands of people have been killed and more than one million others have been displaced in the region, the UN said.

Not supporting Hamas

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela confirmed minister Naledi Pandor received a request to call the Hamas Leader Ismail Haniyeh to discuss getting humanitarian aid to Palestine.

“During the call, and in-line with the Government’s position, Minister Pandor reiterated South Africa’s solidarity and support for the people of Palestine and expressed sadness and regret for the loss of innocent lives [of] both Palestinians and Israelis.”

“The reports that Minister Pandor also offered support for the “Battle of Al-Aqsa Flood” are untrue and meant to impugn the minister and the government of South Africa,” Monyela said.  

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This was echoed by President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya, who also denied the reports.

“Reports of the South African government offering support to Hamas are false. We do not have a bilateral relationship with Hamas. We have bilateral ties with the Palestinian Authority. Support for the Palestinian struggle against occupation does not equate to support for Hamas.

Aid prevented  

Earlier on Tuesday, Pandor said humanitarian aid was being prevented from reaching to those devastated by the bombing. 

“We had hoped we could ask South Africans to voluntarily send some aid to Palestine, medical equipment and medical good, and we were hoping that we could transport those through the Egyptian Rafah crossing.

“We now learn, that Israel is preventing any aid from getting through and is actually attacking humanitarian aid transport. This is absolutely shocking and there really can be no defence for such conduct,” Pandor said.

Egyptian authorities have said Israel is not cooperating with efforts to deliver much-needed humanitarian aid into the besieged Gaza Strip, according to Al Jazeera.

AFP reported relief convoys which had been waiting in the Egyptian city of El Arish were now heading towards the Rafah border crossing.

Monyela said Pandor’s call with Haniyeh was in-line with South Africa’s readiness to “engage all interlocutors as part of facilitating dialogue to end the ongoing conflict”.

“South Africa, therefore, calls on all sides to seize the opportunity for peace as opposed to violence, and for the international community to actively advocate the implementation of its own International resolutions and establish a credible peace process,” Monyela said.

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