President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa has filed a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza.
He was speaking from the city of Doha, in Qatar, during his two-day State visit to the Middle East.
Over 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel last month.
These figures are according to the Hamas-run Palestinian health ministry – while the death toll in Israel stands at approximately 1,200.
Ramaphosa said the Israeli military has turned the Gaza strip into a concentration camp.
“Innocent lives are being lost, and the rules of law are no longer being observed. Children are just being killed, almost half of the 11,000 people that have died in Gaza are children.”
He urged other countries to stand with the Palestinian people.
“There is a need for the whole world to rise and call for the Israeli government to ceasefire, and stop what is happening and the ICC to investigate. Of course, legal measures need to be taken at a global level.”
In reaction, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has expressed its disappointment over the South African government’s decision to refer Israel to the ICC.
The SAJBD’s Wendy Khan says it is concerning that government has decided to stand by Hamas.
“We call our president to call for the release of the 240 civilians held by Hamas, which is clearly the biggest obstacle in the way of a ceasefire.”