South African President Cyril Ramaphosa accused Israel of war crimes and “genocide” in Gaza during an extraordinary summit of the BRICS group of nations on Tuesday, November 21.
“The collective punishment of Palestinian citizens through the illegal use of Israeli forces is a war crime. The deliberate denial of medicine, food, fuel and water to the residents of Gaza amounts to genocide,” said Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa made the comments on the eve of a meeting of BRICS, a group of major emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – aimed at formulating a joint response to Israel’s fight against Hamas.
The conflict erupted after Hamas gunmen killed around 1,000 people, mostly civilians, in the October 7 crusade, the largest attack in Israel’s history.
In retaliation, Israel launched a brutal bombing campaign and launched a ground offensive on Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas.
According to Hamas, the war has killed more than 13,300 people, thousands of them.
On Tuesday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said a peace deal with Israel is in sight, with Qatar’s mediator adding that negotiations to free hostages held by the Palestinian Islamist group are at the “closest point” to a deal.
Ramaphosa called for an “immediate and comprehensive ceasefire” and the deployment of a “UN force” “to monitor the cessation of hostilities and the protection of civilians”.
“We have shown to each country our grave concern about the death and destruction in Gaza,” he said.
“This meeting should be held as a clear call to us to join our efforts and strengthen our actions to end this historical injustice.”