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South Africa expresses concern at rising tension in Jerusalem

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South Africa on Sunday expressed concern at the rising tensions in Jerusalem and called on Israel to cease attacks against Palestinians.

Palestinian protesters walk around during clashes with Israeli security forces at the compound that houses Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem’s Old City, April 22, 2022. Picture: Reuters/Ammar Awad

PRETORIA – South Africa on Sunday expressed concern at the rising tensions in Jerusalem and called on Israel to cease attacks against Palestinians.

The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said South Africa was “appalled by the increased violence and heightened tensions in Jerusalem, particularly at the Al Aqsa Mosque, and the restrictions placed on religious sites, including the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.”

“We strongly condemn the attacks against Palestinians, especially at a time of religious importance for all faiths in the region,” ministry spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in a statement.

He added: “We appeal to the Government of Israel to allow Palestinians their right to worship and gather for prayers in peace. We reaffirm that the holy sites in Jerusalem and the status quo around these sites must be respected.”

The Pretoria authorities accused Israel of “blatant violations of human rights and international law” through its attacks on Palestinians for over 70 years, saying these should no longer be condoned and the international community “must act to ensure that states are held accountable for their actions.”

“South Africa again calls for consistency from the international community and institutions of global governance in upholding the international rule of law,” Monyela said, in apparent reference to the recent swift action by the West to Russian invasion of Ukraine.

He said South Africa was committed to being part of international efforts aimed at reviving a much needed political process that would lead to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state existing side by side in peace with Israel, and within internationally recognised borders that include sovereign equality between states.

“In finding a solution, all people on both sides of the Green Line, in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories must be able to live under conditions free from racism, discrimination of any kind, and, free from violence.”

– Agence de Presse Africaine

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