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South African president Ramaphosa can help resolve the Gaza crisis

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South African president Ramaphosa can help resolve the Gaza crisis

South African president Ramaphosa can help resolve the Gaza crisisOpen in fullscreen

John J Stremlau

South African president Ramaphosa can help resolve the Gaza crisis

Ramaphosa could organise a coalition of countries willing to apply ‘Responsibility to Protect’ [Getty]

Date of publication: 20 June, 2018

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Comment: South Africa could be the force that drives Responsibility to Protect from paper into action on Gaza, writes John J Stremlau.
The gunning down by the Israeli army of protesting Palestinians at the Gaza border in May has drawn international condemnation. There’s also been global outrage about the recent killing of a young Palestinian medic near the same border.

South Africa, led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, is among the states calling for an end to the ongoing and violent injustice in Gaza. The country has proposed an independent inquiry into the May killings. This proposal was endorsed by many other countries, and by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

But a resolution to this effect was quashed during a recent and reportedly bitter UN Security Council meeting.

The UN is stymied. However, Ramaphosa’s own history suggests that South Africa might yet play a valuable leadership role in bringing peace to Gaza.

Twenty years ago, Ramaphosa was the only African representative on the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty. This body formulated a new diplomatic framework for practical action to protect civilian victims of armed violence. The framework was initiated by Canada and called the “Responsibility to Protect,” or R2P.

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