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Ramaphosa wants peace process in Middle East

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called for the revival of the Middle East peace process in a bid to stop the escalation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

This is the third week in which Israel has been bombing Gaza following an attack by Hamas.

UN relief chief Martin Griffiths said they welcome the arrival of trucks to deliver aid to the people of Gaza, which has been under siege.

Analysts also believe that the involvement of South Africa in the Gaza peace summit in Egypt over the weekend signals the desire by various countries to find a peaceful solution between Israel and Palestine.

Ramaphosa said the conflict must come to an end.

He called on the international community to revive the Middle East peace talks.

“Influential countries like the United States of America have a duty and a responsibility to support processes that will deliver a long-lasting and durable peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The international community cannot afford to squander the opportunity that has been presented by the current conflict to decisively push for a two-state solution. There is unanimity across the globe that peace is viable when a free and independent state of Palestine exists alongside a secure state of Israel,” said Ramaphosa.

Dr Sizo Nkala from the University of Johannesburg said the Gaza peace summit in Cairo produced a roadmap for a ceasefire and a two-state solution.

Ramaphosa was invited to the peace summit by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and leaders from Europe, the Middle East, and senior officials from Russia and China also took part in the summit.

Nkala said South Africa could continue to play a role in the peace process in the Middle East, given its role in peace efforts around the world.

“The summit produced a roadmap to open humanitarian corridors for the Palestinian people, encourage a ceasefire, and negotiate a two-state solution as a basis for lasting peace. However, without the participation of Israel and the US, it is difficult to see how the roadmap will yield any tangible outcomes. At this point, only the US, as Israel’s main patron, is in a position to get Israel to agree to a ceasefire,” said Nkala.

Dr Omololu Fagbadebo from the Durban University of Technology said Ramaphosa’s participation in the Gaza peace summit showed South Africa was still influential in global affairs.

“Ramaphosa’s participation and, more importantly, the opportunity to address the summit show that South Africa, as the arrowhead of Africa in BRICS, has been recognised as a global player and Africa’s voice in world affairs.

“While the president aligned with the growing concern over the need for lasting peace in the Middle East, especially the resolution of the age-long Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio, Pretoria’s support for the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders was evident and resonated with the opinions of a majority of stakeholders in the conflict,” said Omololu.

Leaders who attended the summit called for de-escalation between the rival forces in the region.

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