DIRCO’s Clayson Monyela has refuted the claims suggesting that Minister Pandor had expressed support for the “Battle of Al-Aqsa Flood,” asserting that these allegations were unfounded and aimed at undermining both the minister and the South African government. He emphasised that Minister Pandor’s discussion with the Hamas leader is consistent with South Africa’s commitment to engage with all stakeholders to facilitate dialogue and resolve the persistent conflict.

By Staff Reporter

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) issued a statement explaining that Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor had received a request to contact Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

The request, added DIRCO, aligns with the government’s commitment to engage with all relevant parties to facilitate dialogue.

The department announced that the minister had received the request to engage with Haniyeh, regarding the provision of humanitarian assistance to Gaza.

The spokesperson for the department, Clayson Monyela, stated that during the conversation, Minister Pandor reaffirmed South Africa’s solidarity and support for the Palestinian people. The minister also expressed sorrow and regret for the loss of innocent lives, both among Palestinians and Israelis.

This request came just over ten days after Palestinian militants breached Israel’s heavily fortified Gaza border, resulting in the deaths of over 1,400 people, the majority of whom were civilians.

In response, Israel has launched extensive air strikes, resulting in the deaths of over 2,700 people, primarily civilians. Additionally, Israel imposed a restrictive blockade on Gaza and deployed a significant number of troops to the border in preparation for a potential ground offensive.

Monyela clarified that the discussion between Minister Pandor and the Hamas leader focused on the facilitation of humanitarian aid to Gaza and other areas within the Palestinian Territories.

“Minister Pandor and the Hamas leader discussed how to get the necessary humanitarian aid to Gaza and other parts of the Palestinian Territories.

“The reports that Minister Pandor also offered support for the ‘Battle of Al-Aqsa Flood’ are untrue and meant to impugn the minister and the government of South Africa. Minister Pandor’s call with the Hamas leader is in line with South Africa’s readiness to engage all interlocutors as part of facilitating dialogue to end the ongoing conflict.

“South Africa, therefore, calls on all sides to seize the opportunity for peace as opposed to violence and for the international community to actively advocate for the implementation of its own International resolutions and establish a credible peace process.

“South Africa stands ready to share its experience in mediation and conflict resolution as it has done on the continent and around the world,” said Monyela.

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