The UN resolution, which calls for an expeditious and continuous humanitarian ceasefire, leading to the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas, has regrettably been disregarded. This is evident in the intensifying Israeli bombardment and assault on the Palestinian population in Gaza, which has led to a growing number of casualties, fatalities, and significant destruction of vital infrastructure, such as hospitals.

Tshawe lama Tshawe

Gaza remains volatile and on knife-edge as a result of Israel’s ongoing attacks, which have led to the loss of thousands of Palestinian lives.

The escalating Israeli bombardment and assault on the Palestinian population in Gaza has resulted in a rising number of casualties, loss of lives, and extensive damage to critical infrastructure, including hospitals.

It appears that the UN resolution, which urges for an “immediate, sustained humanitarian truce, leading to the cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas,” has unfortunately been disregarded.

The statement that was overwhelmingly adopted by members of the United Nations states: “The General Assembly today demanded the unhindered provision of essential aid to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip, as the body continued its emergency session on the situation in the Middle East.

“The Assembly also failed to unequivocally reject and condemn the terrorist attacks by Hamas that took place in Israel starting on 7 October. 

“By a recorded vote of 121 in favour to 14 against, with 45 abstentions, the Assembly adopted the resolution titled ‘protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations’ – demanding that all parties immediately and fully comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law.

“Calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all civilians who are being illegally held captive, the Assembly also stressed the grave impact that armed conflict has had on women and children as well as on other civilians who may have specific vulnerabilities, including people with disabilities and older persons.  

“Emphasising the importance of preventing further destabilisation and escalation of violence in the region and calling upon all parties to exercise maximum restraint, the body reaffirmed that a just solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only be achieved by peaceful means, based on the relevant United Nations resolutions and in accordance with international law and on the basis of the two-State solution.”

Offering his perspective on the Middle East crisis, Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana, the general secretary of the SA Council of Churches, expressed that fear, insecurity, and repression are not conducive to achieving sustainable peace.

“Weeks following the incident of 7 October 2023 in Israel have magnified the daily experience of Palestinians in Gaza and Israel.

“The brutality of the Hamas attack on Israeli families, women and children in the kibbutzim, is right to be condemned with the same vehemence with which we condemn all brutal attacks on defenceless people anywhere in the world.

“The Hamas incursions resulted in no less than 1 400 Israeli deaths, and between 200 and 250 persons abducted and held hostage.

“In response, the Netanyahu government of Israel went on a war footing, established a war cabinet of national unity – mounting an incessant barrage of bombardments that would reduce Gaza City to rubble, with over 6 000 Palestinians killed – with about half of the dead being children.

“Several thousands have been displaced or fled for safer locations.

“What we now have is beyond the rage over the brutal Hamas attacks, it has become a systematic assault on the Palestinian people, almost as though their crime is being Palestinian.

“The continued indiscriminate bombing in Gaza, which has been described as a concentration camp, destroys lives, sometimes wiping out three generations of one family at one go, such as in the case of journalist Wael Dahdough whose wife, son and seven-year-old daughter were killed, with other family members still unaccounted for. No place is safe: schools, hospitals and even churches are targeted with impunity.”

Mpumlwana condemned the indiscriminate bombings that targeted the Greek Orthodox Saint Porphyrius Church in Gaza as “senseless”.

“This is happening in the glare of the international community which seems to give tacit support to Israel to commit such atrocities with no moral outrage.

“The huge and growing number of the dead should touch every heart of flesh in the world.

“With thousands more in hospitals with dwindling capacity to cope, and surgical operations conducted raw with no anaesthetics or pain killers, it is heart-wrenching.

“There has been the cutting off of water, electricity and fuel, rendering emergency services an uphill struggle. In the West Bank, the settlers are reportedly going on shooting sprees that have killed over 90 Palestinians in the last couple of weeks.

“We are alarmed at the moral bankruptcy demonstrated by Western powers in the unqualified support of Israel, a blank cheque, given in the name of Israeli self-defence.

“These incessant bombardments are not self-defence by an occupying power with the most sophisticated defence force in the Middle East and one of the tops in the world.

“It can only be truly described in the words of collective punishment used by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres in saying: ‘the horrendous attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of those in Gaza through Israel’s bombing campaign’.

“This at best, is short-sighted, but largely it is a dangerous game that promotes warmongering that will engulf the whole region and potentially the whole world.

“It is an invitation for proxy street battles between sympathisers of Israel and Palestine in different parts of the world where there is no Israeli Defence Force (IDF) to bombard anyone – a recipe for disaster,” said Mpumlwana.

The Anglican Diocese of Jerusalem and other Christian churches in the Holy Land have responded with a “solemn observance of fasting and prayer for peace, reconciliation and an end to the harrowing conflict”.

The SACC said it echoed the statement of the church in Jerusalem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *