President Cyril Ramaphosa has labelled the treatment of Palestinians by Israel as “abhorrent”.
Extending “good wishes” to Muslims ahead of Eid-al-Fitr, Ramaphosa said many Muslims across the world could not enjoy the day as it was “marred by hardship, deprivation and violence”.
Eid al-Fitr, commonly known as the Festival of Breaking the Fast, is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide to mark then end of the month-long Ramadan.
“On behalf of all the people of South Africa, I wish our Muslim brethren well on this auspicious day of family, community and collegiality.
“We express our collective abhorrence of the violence being perpetrated against the Palestinian people, and reaffirm our solidarity with their struggle for nationhood and self-determination,” Ramaphosa said in a statement on Thursday.
Long-held tensions between Israel and Palestinian groups have flared up recently, resulting in many casualties, including children.
Ramaphosa also thanked the Muslim community for their contributions to the fight against Covid-19
“Muslims in South Africa, like people of other faiths, have had to curtail aspects of their worship such as praying in congregation, appreciating this was for the common good,” the president said.
Divestment and solidarity
On Wednesday, South African political parties and civil society groups lambasted the “brutal violence” and “atrocities” allegedly committed by Israel authorities against Palestinians and the groups called for South Africa to end trade with Israel.
Former ANC Cabinet minister Ronnie Kasrils expressed anger at what he termed “ethnic cleansing” and “criminal action” by Israel against the Palestinians in east Jerusalem.
And on Monday, the ANC national executive committee (NEC) expressed support for the Palestinian people.
In an address after the weekend’s NEC meeting, Ramaphosa condemned that evictions of Palestinians from their homes.
“The NEC reaffirms its support for the people of Palestine and their struggle for freedom and self-determination. And we repeat our condemnation in the strongest terms of the unlawful evictions of the Palestinians from their homes and the brutal attacks on the Palestinian protestors at al-Aqsa mosque,” he said.
Additional reporting by Eric Naki