South Africa and Namibia have condemned recent clashes at Al-Aqsa Mosque, where Israeli soldiers attacked Palestinian worshipers while praying at Islam’s third holiest site.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party said in a statement (on the weekend) it condemns the determination of the Israeli regime to evict Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Al-Jarrah, East Jerusalem.
“This development must not be seen in isolation. It is part of a well-coordinated and elaborate agenda by apartheid Israel to enrich its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and to render the people of Palestine landless in their own land,” Africa’s oldest liberation movement which fought apartheid in South Africa said.
Palestinians in Jerusalem in recent days have protested in solidarity with the residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood amid attacks by Israeli police.
The crisis stems from a ruling by the Israeli Central Court in East Jerusalem, which approved a decision to evict seven Palestinian families from their homes in the neighborhood in favor of Israeli settlers at the beginning of this year.
Israeli police attempted to disperse worshippers inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound Friday evening using stun grenades and tear gas. Hundreds of Palestinians were injured in the attacks, which have been condemned worldwide.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is Islam’s third-holiest site. Jews call the area the “Temple Mount,” claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Namibia expresses concern
The Namibian government said it noted with concern the rising tensions in East Jerusalem over the possible eviction of Palestinian families.
“Namibia expresses concern about the possible evictions and condemns the violence exercised by the Israeli police during the past days against Palestinian demonstrators and the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, assaulting peaceful worshippers,” Nambia’s Ministry of International Relations said in a statement.
The Southern African country also called on Israeli forces to immediately stop acts of violence against Palestinians, reaffirming their support for the struggle of the Palestinian people.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) also retaliated the ANC’s position in a different statement saying, “The South African government strongly condemns the attacks and the planned evictions of Palestinians from annexed East Jerusalem to make way for an Israeli settlement.”
South Africa said Israel’s actions are in stark violation of international law, also a disregard of international humanitarian law and UN Security Council Resolutions, including Resolutions 446 (1979) and 2334 (2016).
“The latter Resolution explicitly calls for an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and the fulfillment of the rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and independence,” the statement said.
“It is perplexing that during these unprecedented times, as the international community addresses the global challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. Israel is exploiting the situation to advance its de facto annexation of Palestinian land.”
Several protests have been planned for Tuesday across South Africa to condemn Israeli violence and show solidarity with Palestine.