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South Africa’s foreign minister confirmed a phone call with the Hamas leader on Tuesday to discuss the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza but denounced allegations of support for Hamas fighters’ surprise attack on Israel.
Naledi Pandor said he received a call request from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. “The minister and the Hamas leader discussed how to deliver the necessary humanitarian aid to Gaza and other parts of the Palestinian territories,” the Ministry of International Relations said in a statement.
On the other hand, reports in the local press suggesting that the minister supported the attack that Hamas called Operation ” Al-Aqsa Flood” are “false” and “aim to discredit the minister and the southern government -Africa” , denounces the ministry.
“During the call, and in line with the government’s position, Minister Pandor reiterated her solidarity and support for the people of Palestine and expressed sadness and regret for the loss of innocent lives, both Palestinians and among Israelis,” the statement added.
Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya clarified in a tweet: “We do not have bilateral relations with Hamas. We have bilateral ties with the Palestinian Authority. Support for the Palestinian struggle against “Occupation does not amount to support for Hamas.”
President Cyril Ramaphosa , surrounded by dozens of senior officials of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), appeared on Saturday dressed in black and draped with a keffiyeh around his neck, a small Palestinian flag in hand, in front of the press at the outcome of a political meeting.
“As a people and an organization that fought against an oppressive system, apartheid, we are committed to standing in solidarity with the Palestinians,” Mr. Ramaphosa said.
“We are deeply concerned by the atrocities committed in the Middle East,” he added, recalling having conveyed his condolences “to the people of Israel, just as we convey them to the people of Palestine. ”
Several demonstrations around the conflict, mainly pro-Palestinian, have taken place in recent days in major South African cities.