South Africa

WATCH: ‘South Africans can relate to what is happening to Palestinians’ – Ramaphosa

Cyril Ramaphosa 1

Ramaphosa said Israel and Palestine will only find peace if the ‘legitimate aspirations’ of Palestinians are met

As the conflict in Middle East rages on, President Cyril Ramaphosa has stressed the only way to find peace in Israel and Palestine is “the fulfilment of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to human rights, dignity and statehood”.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the Cairo Peace Summit in Egypt on Saturday with twelve state leaders gathering to discuss the conflict between Israel and Palestinefsouth.

The conflict has left thousands of people dead, most of them Palestinians as Israel besieged Gaza launching wave after wave of air strikes, enforcing a blockade and deploying tens of thousands of troops to the border in preparation for an expected ground assault.

Watch President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the Cairo Peace Summit in Egypt

SA can relate to Palestine

Ramaphosa called on all parties to exercise restraint and on all state actors to desist from providing weapons to either of the sides of the conflict.

He said the international community has a responsibility and a duty to support peace and to create favourable conditions for negotiation and dialogue.

“As South Africans we can relate to what is happening to Palestinians. Our people waged a brave and courageous struggle to achieve their freedom and were subjected to untold suffering just like the Palestinians are going through.

“The nightmare of apartheid was only brought to an end by the relentless struggle of our people and the courage and foresight of leaders who put aside their differences and sought peace rather than revenge,” Ramaphosa said.

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Ramaphosa said peace is the only option to bring about peace between between Israel and Palestine.

“We are concerned that the response of the Israeli government to the attack on its citizens will further deepen a conflict that has engulfed the region for many decades and will make the attainment of a just and lasting peace even more difficult. We are also concerned that this conflict can spread to include other countries in the region. This must be avoided at all costs.

“The only way to bring about peace is the fulfilment of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to human rights, dignity and statehood,” the president said.

Ramaphosa called for a United Nations-led negotiation process towards resolving the conflict.

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