PRETORIA, South Africa – In a strongly worded statement, South African International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor has called for the arrest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on charges of war crimes.
Pandor made the call during a ministerial statement on the Israel-Palestine conflict in the National Assembly on Tuesday. She accused Netanyahu of being directly responsible for the “murder of children, women and the elderly” during Israel’s recent military offensive in Gaza.
“The International Criminal Court in The Hague should have arrested Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu for the killing of women, children and the elderly in his country’s war with Palestine,” Pandor said.
She added that the conflict could only be resolved through the establishment of two states, with Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace.
Pandor also criticized the international community for failing to take more decisive action to stop the violence in Gaza. She said that the world had “expressed horror at Israel but has not acted effectively to save the lives of Palestinians”.
“Sadly, even here in our own country there are those who choose to turn a blind eye to these atrocities,” Pandor said.
She called for peace talks facilitated by the United Nations.
Pandor’s statement is the latest in a series of increasingly critical comments by South African officials about Israel’s actions in Gaza. Earlier this month, South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel for consultations.
The South African government has long been a supporter of the Palestinian cause. South Africa was one of the first countries to recognize the State of Palestine after it was declared in 2012.
The Israel-Palestine conflict has been ongoing for decades. The two sides have been locked in a cycle of violence, with no end in sight.
The conflict has drawn international condemnation, with many countries calling for a ceasefire. However, the ceasefire has been fragile and has been broken on numerous occasions.