South Africa accuses Israel of war crimes and ‘genocide’

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa accused Israel of war crimes and “genocide” in Gaza, during an extraordinary summit of the BRICS on Tuesday.

South Africa’s Pretoria is hosting a virtual meeting of BRICS, a group of major emerging economies including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, aimed at drawing a common response to the attacks on Gaza.

“The collective punishment of Palestinian civilians through the unlawful use of force by Israel is a war crime.”Ramaphosa said.

“The deliberate denial of medicine, fuel, food and water to the residents of Gaza is tantamount to genocide,” he added.

Ramaphosa called for an “immediate and comprehensive ceasefire” and the deployment of a UN force “to monitor the cessation of hostilities and protect civilians.”

“As individual countries, we have demonstrated our grave concern at the death and destruction in Gaza,” he told the summit.

South Africa has always been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party linking it to its own struggle against apartheid.

In early November, Pretoria recalled all its diplomats from Israel and called for an International Criminal Court investigation into the conflict.

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