Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma will dispatch a team to Israel to convey government’s concerns over the inhumane killings through the ground invasion on the Gaza strip.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane made this announcement when she tabled her Budget Vote in Parliament on Tuesday.

She also announced that South Africa would donate $1 million to assist with humanitarian efforts in Gaza soon.

Her announcement comes amid growing calls for the United Nations Security Council to act within the ambit of international law to deal with the violent attacks on the people of Palestine, which has left many civilians – including innocent women and children – dead.

As the death toll continues to rise, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane pulled no punches and had nothing but strong words about the killing of civilians.

“The senseless killings of women and children must stop now. We must silence the guns!

“In this respect, President [Jacob] Zuma will be dispatching a team, led by our former Deputy Minister Mr. Aziz Pahad, to Israel and Palestine to convey our growing concern with the escalation of violence there, including the endless wanton killing of Palestinian civilians and the destruction of homes in Gaza,” the minister said.

She also said Presidet Zuma will be inviting Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas for a working visit.

“We will also be contributing $1 million for human assistance to Palestinian women and children through UN agencies in the nearest future.”

In a media briefing earlier, the minister conveyed her condolences to the people of Palestine, who have lost their loved ones during the tensions.

She called for the Israeli military to withdraw from the invasion, which she called illegal and inhumane, and extended calls to the UN Security Council to exercise international law with regards to the Gaza situation.

Malaysian plane crash

Meanwhile, Minister Nkoana-Mashabane said the reports have indicated that the crash of Malaysian flight MH17 in Ukraine was not an accident.

She condemned the loss of lives on the flight and called for a thorough, transparent and independent investigation into the tragedy that should not have happened.

“We also extend our condolences to the government and people of Malaysia and all countries that have lost their loved ones in this tragic incident.

“The political situation in Ukraine requires an urgent intervention. We express our deep concern and call for a comprehensive dialogue…” she said