Organisations in South Africa and world leaders alike have welcomed the announcement of a four-day truce between Israel and Hamas.
Earlier today, Qatar, which facilitated the talks, announced that the temporal ceasefire was agreed on, in order to allow for the release of about 50 Israeli hostages and 150 Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
The hostages were captured on October 7 when Hamas attacked southern Israel – killing 1 200 people, most of them civilians.
More than 14 000 people, thousands of them children, have so far been killed in the almost seven week-old conflict.
According to reports, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet approved this following the marathon talks, which were held for most of the night.
Netanyahu has described the move as a difficult, but a right decision.
According to the agreement, there will be an extra day of truce for every 10 additional hostages released.
Netanyahu says the war will continue in order to return all the hostages home.
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) November 22, 2023
The Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, in a statement says he hopes this will pave a way for the devastating war to end.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has praised Qatar, Egypt and the US on their successful mediation efforts.
“The people of Palestine, Israel and the nations of the region must work together with the international community to entrench the rights, peace and sustainable development of the Palestinian people as part of the multilaterally endorsed two-state solution,” Ramaphosa says in a statement.
UK Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, hails the deal as a “crucial step” towards the release of hostages and provision of humanitarian relief in Gaza.
French President, Emmanuel Macron, also weighed in – saying work is being done tirelessly to free all hostages.
Palestinian Authority leader, Mahmoud Abbas, the EU and the US, Jordan, Russia, China, Egypt, France and Germany, among others, also welcomed the truce.
The governing African National Congress (ANC) also believes the move is a step in the right direction.
ANC PARLIAMENTARY CAUCUS CONGRATULATES THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY FOR STANDING STEADFAST FOR PEACE AND JUSTICE IN OCCUPIED PALESTINE pic.twitter.com/hqJvswWmSn
— ANC Parliament (@ANCParliament) November 22, 2023
Human rights NGO, Africa4Palestine Director, Muhammed Desai says a permanent ceasefire is what is needed in the Middle East.
Speaking to Ynews, Desia says while they welcome the temporal ceasefire, urgent discussions need to happen for a long term solution to the conflict.
On the other hand, the SA Zionist Federation has called on the South African government to assist in the release of South Africans held hostage by Hamas.
The four-day pause will be the first full-scale break in fighting across the full Gaza Strip since October 7.
Director of Public Policy, Benji Shulman says Hamas must be held accountable for their actions.
Mixed bag of reactions to suspension of diplomatic ties
Yesterday, South African Parliamentarians voted for the closure of the Israeli embassy in Pretoria over the conflict that’s claimed more than 14 000 lives within six weeks.
The vote came after Israel recalled its ambassador in the country to Tel Aviv for consultation.
However, the nation seems divided on whether passing the EFF-initiated motion was a prudent decision.
Human rights NGO, Africa4Palestine’s Director Muhammed Desai, says the resolution accurately reflects South Africans and their support for human rights.
However the SA Jewish Board of Deputies has rejected the debate in National Assembly as a pointless exercise as Parliament does not determine the International Relations of the country.
The Vice President of the Jewish Board of Deputies, Mary Kluk, says breaking of diplomatic relations with Israel will be counterproductive to Pretoria.
Written by: Nonhlanhla Harris