South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday vowed that his country will not waiver in its commitment to Palestinians to secure their right to self-determination.
In a televised address to the nation shortly after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to take “all measures within its power” to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza, Ramaphosa said he hopes the order will pave the way to end the current crisis in the Palestinian enclave.
Ramaphosa said some have criticized South Africa for taking Israel to The Hague court, but asserted that as a country that experienced apartheid, it could not stand and watch the atrocities unfolding without taking action.
He said that South Africa would not be a passive bystander as the crimes perpetrated against South Africa are inflicted on others.
The ICJ on Friday also ordered Israel to take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip but stopped short of ordering a cease-fire.
On Dec. 29, South Africa filed a lawsuit with the top UN court, requesting an injunction against Israel on the grounds that the country’s attacks on Gaza violate the Genocide Convention.
Ramaphosa underlined the need for a concerted effort to bring a cease-fire and negotiations for a permanent solution with two states living side-by-side.
“Never again that acts of genocide will be perpetrated with impunity,” he said, adding that perpetrators must be held accountable.
An earlier statement by the country’s Foreign Ministry said: “South Africa would continue to do everything within its power to preserve the existence of the Palestinian people as a group, to end all acts of apartheid and genocide against the Palestinian people and to walk with them towards the realization of their collective right to self-determination.”
“As Nelson Mandela momentously declared, ‘our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians’,” it added.