Pretoria: South Africa has joined the international community in condemning the killing of Palestinian Minister Ziad Abu Ein.
On Wednesday, Abu Ein joined a group of activists who planted olive trees in the village of Termes’aya near Ramallah. An Israeli army force arrived at the scene and clashed with the activists, where Abu Ein was present.
Abu Ein, who was in charge of the issue of Israeli settlements for the Palestinian Authority, inhaled tear gas and was beaten by the soldiers. He later died in hospital.
Pretoria says the killing of Minister Abu Ein demonstrates the cruelty that Palestinians are confronted with on a daily basis.
“This wanton use of excessive force against peaceful activists constitutes a crime against humanity. Minister Abu Ein died trying to protect Palestinian land. He died for the cause of Palestinian statehood,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said on Thursday.
Spokesperson Clayson Monyela said the South African government supports the call by the international community in demanding a swift, independent and neutral investigation into the incident.
“We back the call by the Palestinian National Authority for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention and other related international bodies to take effective measures to safeguard Palestinian lives and take practical measures to end Israel’s impunity.”
The death of Abu Ein happened as the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are stalled. The talks had stopped nine months since March this year after it was sponsored by the United States.
Tensions have heightened over the past months in Israel and the Palestinian territories and the Israeli army was reportedly bracing for more violence over Abu Ein’s death.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS