Israel must withdraw from Gaza Strip, says Zuma

The ANC will go “back to basics” through its Imvuselelo campaign, President Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.

“We must use this campaign to reflect on where we are and what we can do in the immediate, to make the ANC the fighting force needed to take our people forward in the fight against poverty, inequality and unemployment and build a national democratic society,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery. 

“We must perform this task cognisant of the fact that the ANC is the only true hope for the overwhelming majority of our people who keep voting for us in successive elections.” Zuma was speaking at the launch of the party’s campaign in Bloemfontein, in the Free State on Sunday. 

He said the campaign would involve renewing lapsed ANC membership and door-to-door visits to popularise the party’s programme and recruit new members. This would be followed by political education and induction into politics of the party. “Essentially through this campaign we are going back to basics,” Zuma said. 

Meanwhile, the Israeli defence force and Hamas must end all forms of aggression towards each other, Zuma said.

“The Israeli defence force must immediately withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery. “We equally condemn the continuing firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel, putting lives of innocent civilians at risk.” Zuma was speaking at the launch of the ANC’s Imvuselelo campaign. 

Work towards a ceasefire
He said the ANC urged Hamas and Israel to work towards a ceasefire agreement and that negotiations between the two for a permanent resolution resume. 

“We strongly oppose the continuous construction and expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories by the Israeli government, which violates international law, gravely undermines peace efforts and threatens the viability of the two-state solution,” Zuma said. 

“We welcome recent efforts to achieve intra-Palestinian unity, including the formation of a national unity government and steps towards conducting general elections.” This was key for a democratic and sustainable Palestinian state, he said. According to Agence France-Presse, the death toll in Gaza passed 400 on Sunday. It was day 13 of the deadliest violence in the enclave in five years. – Sapa

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