Victims of Gaza attack to be laid to rest

The violence on the Gaza-Israel border, which took place as the US opened its new embassy in Jerusalem, was the bloodiest for Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza conflict.

FILE: A Palestinian holds his national flag in the smoke billowing from burning tyres during clashes with Israeli forces near the border between the Gaza strip and Israel east of Gaza City on 14 May 2018. Picture: AFP.

CAPE TOWN - Palestinians have come together in Gaza for the funerals of scores of people killed by Israeli troops, while on the Gaza-Israel border.

Israeli forces have taken up positions to deal with the expected final day of a Palestinian protest campaign.

Monday’s violence on the border, which took place as the United States opened its new embassy in Jerusalem, was the bloodiest for Palestinians since the 2014 Gaza conflict.

The death toll rose to 60 overnight after an eight-month-old baby died from teargas that her family said she inhaled at a protest camp.

More than 2,200 Palestinians were also injured by gunfire or teargas.

Palestinian leaders have called Monday’s events a massacre, and the Israeli tactic of using live fire against the protesters has drawn worldwide concern and condemnation.

Israel has said its acting in self-defence to defend its borders and communities.

CONDEMNATION

International Relations and Co-operation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says she wants South Africa’s Jewish community to add its voice to condemnation of Israeli Defence Force action on the Gaza Strip.

Sisulu condemned the deaths and the more than 2,700 injuries suffered by Palestinian protesters as “unacceptable” and “a disaster that shouldn’t have happened”.

South Africa on Monday recalled its ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, with immediate effect.

Sisulu was briefing reporters at Parliament ahead of her budget vote speech on Tuesday afternoon.

Minister Sisulu says she spoke to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, asking if the establishment and inauguration of the embassy in East Jerusalem could be delayed but was told it was too late for that.

Sisulu says she now wants to reach out to South Africa’s Jewish community.

“We would now want to sit down with them and explain to them that 55 people dead, 2,700 people wounded is unacceptable. And we would like them to join us in condemning this. We would like them to join us in finding a lasting solution for the people of Palestine.”

Sisulu says more protests are expected on Tuesday.

It marks the 70-year anniversary of Nakba, or the Day of Catastrophe when Israel forcefully occupied Palestinian territory in 1948.

The African National Congress’ parliamentary caucus has also condemned the killings and injuries – it’s calling for a cessation of hostilities and a return to “truthful and honest negotiations” on the part of Israel for a two-state solution in the region.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)