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The attack left several hospital staff wounded as they attempted to treat Palestinian citizens injured by Israel’s bombardment in Gaza

South Africa has joined the international community in condemning the Israeli bombing near the Jordanian field hospital in Gaza.

The attack on Wednesday left several hospital staff members wounded as they attempted to treat Palestinian citizens injured by Israel’s bombardment.

Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, while more than 2,600 people – including about 1,400 children – are reported missing, potentially trapped, or deceased beneath the rubble, according to the Health Ministry.

The attack by Israel came after Hamas launched a surprise attack on 7 October, leaving 1 200 people – mostly civilians – dead while taking 239 people hostages, according to updated Israeli figures.

ALSO READ: Gift of the Givers member and his brother killed in Gaza attack

Concerns

In a statement, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said the government was concerned at the continuous targeting of medical facilities, schools and holy sites that are a source of shelter and protection for civilians “who bear the brunt of the inhumane attacks in Gaza.”

“Among the thousands of civilian victims of the Israeli siege of Gaza is Mr Ahmed Abbasi, head of the Gift of the Givers Foundation office in Gaza, who was targeted by the Israel Defence Force (IDF) whilst returning from morning prayer. Mr Abbasi was killed alongside his brother.”

“South Africa continues to maintain that there is no legal, ethical or moral justification for the bombardment of non-combatants and destruction of civilian sites,” Dirco said.

Civilians

Dirco said civilians must not be targeted.

“Israel, as the occupying power, has a duty to protect civilians in Gaza. It is cruel to endanger the lives of Palestinians who have sought refuge from intense bombardment and gun battles.”

“All those responsible for the bombardment of non-combatants, medical facilities and other civilian sites must be held accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity. In the case of the deaths of civilians in Gaza and increasingly now in the West Bank, the crime of genocide must also be investigated,” Dirco said.

According to international humanitarian law (IHL), the Fourth Geneva Convention, health establishments and units, including hospitals, should not be attacked. This protection extends to the wounded and sick as well as to medical staff and emergency vehicles.

Ceasefire

Dirco has echoed the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s resolution and called for an immediate ceasefire and the immediate opening of humanitarian corridors to allow the provision of food, medical supplies and fuel.

“South Africa calls for enhanced peace efforts aimed at reviving a political process, leading to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state, existing side by side in peace with Israel within internationally recognised borders, based on those existing on 4 June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in compliance with all relevant UN Resolutions, international law and internationally agreed parameters,” Dirco said.

ALSO READ: Gaza turned into ‘concentration camp’ – SA refers Israel to ICC for war crimes

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