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Mon, 05 Jan 2009 13:10 - Updated Mon, 05 Jan 2009 13:09

south africa denounces Israel's invasion of Gaza

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cape town- The escalation of Israeli military violence in Gaza is unacceptable and must stop immediately, the South African government has said.

South Africa called on the United Nations to stand together in condemning the escalation of violence on the part of Israel, adding that the international community should use whatever means possible to stop the violence.

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters at the weekend gathered outside the United States Consulate in Johannesburg to protest Israel's bombing of Gaza and to support a campaign for boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

The protest was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Committee.

Speakers included Eddie Makue, General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches; Bongani Masuku, of the Congress of South African Trade Unions as well as Melissa Hoole and Salim Vally of the Palestine Solidarity Committee.

Vally insisted that the demonstration was not only a condemnation of Israel's "brutality" but also a celebration of Palestinian heroism and resistance.

He likened the resistance to 'the brave young women and men in the Warsaw Ghetto against Nazi occupation".

Close to 500 people have died since the bombing started.

Israel said the attacks were aimed at stopping the incessant firing of rockets into the southern part of the country, and has so far rebuffed calls for a cease-fire.