Pro-Palestinian groups to meet Zuma again

A follow up meeting is scheduled to take place between Jacob Zuma and pro-Palestinian organisations.

FILE: Israeli soldiers work on their Merkava tanks at an army deployment point near the Israeli-Gaza border on 20 August,2014. Picture:AFP.

JOHANNESBURG/GAZA - A follow up meeting is scheduled to take place between President Jacob Zuma and some local pro-Palestinian organisations.

Representatives from several organisations including trade unions, met with the president this week, to discuss the Israeli-Hamas conflict.

Activist Muhammad Desai says they want to see the South African ambassador from Tel Aviv recalled as part of diplomatic protest.

"We want to see South Africa's ambassador from Tel Aviv recalled and the Israeli ambassador expelled from Pretoria as forms of diplomatic protests against the ongoing violence that Israeli government enact on Palestinian people."

Meanwhile, relief group Gift of the Givers says it will only be taking specialist doctors and surgeons to Gaza following restrictions imposed by the Egyptian government.

Gift of the Givers received permission to cross into Gaza through Egypt's side of the Rafah border post and is expected to leave on a two week mission at the weekend.

The relief group initially intended to take more than 50 people, but was only granted permission for a 10 member team.


Israel killed three senior Hamas commanders in the Gaza Strip in an air strike on Thursday and said it would continue to target the group's armed leadership after a ceasefire failed.

Hamas, which dominates Gaza, named the men as Mohammed Abu Shammala, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhoum, the three highest-ranking casualties it has announced since Israel started its offensive six weeks ago.

All three, killed in the bombing of a house in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, had led operations against Israel over the past 20 years, the Islamist movement said. Hospital officials said a four-year-old girl injured in the attack later died of her wounds.

The Israeli military and Shin Bet, the internal security service, confirmed it had targeted two of the men.

Since the collapse on Tuesday of a 10-day ceasefire, the Israeli military has ramped up its efforts to hit the leadership of Hamas's armed wing, the Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades.

"We will continue to seek out and target Hamas leaders anywhere, and everywhere - wherever they are," Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said.

Hamas's Gaza-based deputy political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, who has stayed out of the public eye, said in a speech read by a presenter on the group's Al-Aqsa TV station that "the enemy will pay a heavy price" for the assassinations.

"When one leader is martyred, other leaders take the flag and continue the march," Haniyeh said.

Israel launched its offensive in Gaza on 8 July with the declared aim of curbing Palestinian rocket fire into its territory. Gaza health officials say 2,066 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed.

Israeli attacks have devastated many areas in the densely-populated enclave, home to 1.8 million people, with 425,000 of people displaced, according to the United Nations.

Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have been killed in the conflict, as well as three civilians in the Jewish state.

Additional information from Reuters