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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Israel, Palestinian Islamic Jihad declare fragile truce in Gaza

While both sides have agreed to halt the fighting, each has warned the other that it will respond with force to any violence.

A ceasefire between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian armed group Islamic Jihad has declared a truce, raising hopes of an end to three days of Israeli bombardment in Gaza that has killed at least 44 Palestinians, including 15 children.

The fragile which began at 11:30pm local time on Sunday (20:30 GMT) and mediated by Egypt with help from the United Nations (UN) and Qatar follows three days of Israeli airstrikes targeting Palestinian groups.

While both sides had agreed to halt the fighting, each has warned the other that it would respond with force to any violence.

ALSO READ: SA calls for lasting peace between Palestine and Israel

Israel on Friday launched its heavy bombardment of Gaza, flattening buildings and striking refugee camps across the territory.

The Israeli military said the attack was in response to what it calls imminent threats after it targeted members of the Islamic Jihad, including the group’s senior commanders.

However, according to Palestinian officials, almost half of the 44 people who died have been civilians.

This is the most serious flareup between Israel and Gaza since an eleven day conflict in May, last year, which left more than 200 Palestinians and a dozen Israeli’s dead.

Meanwhile, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

“It is of particular grave concern that Israeli military statements indicate that the operation would take a long time and that the ongoing attacks continue to place innocent civilians at severe risk.”

“Attacks that kill innocent civilians have no justification, and they are more abhorrent as they are committed by an occupying power which has besieged the Gaza Strip for over a decade in contravention of international law. As an occupying power, Israel has specific obligations in terms of international human rights and humanitarian law, which it continues to breach without being held accountable,” Dirco said.

At the same time, the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) has accused foreign affairs minister, Naledi Pandor, of double standards.

“Six months and tens of thousands of civilian deaths later, we are still waiting for our Department of International Relations and Cooperation to condemn Russia’s barbaric war of aggression against the Ukrainian people.

“By comparison, within hours of armed clashes breaking out on the Israel-Gaza border, Dirco Minister Naledi Pandor had rushed to issue yet another virulent denunciation of the Jewish state,” the Sajbd said.

Pandor, recently stated: “South Africa is concerned at the continued human rights violations in the occupied territories and again reiterates that such violations only contribute to the fostering of hatred.

The chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, also strongly condemned the continued air strike attacks by Israel on Gaza

Faki reiterated that targeting of civilians and the continued illegal occupation by Israeli security forces of the Occupied Territories, are in stark violation of international law, and complicate the search for a just and lasting solution.

The chairperson reaffirms the unwavering support of the African Union with the Palestinian people in their legitimate quest for an independent and sovereign State with East Jerusalem as its capital.

ALSO READ: South Africa condemns Israeli attacks on Gaza

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