President Lazarus Chakwera has raised safety concerns for about 300 Malawians in Israel and has since condemned Hamas recent “terrorist attack” on civilians in that country which killed at least 1 300 people.
Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 2023 and Israel declared war on the group which controls Gaza Strip, a region that shares its borders with it. At least 3 000 Palestines have been killed in the on-going airstrikes by Israel.
Chakwera in a post on his Facebook page said he is ‘deeply’ concerned with the welfare of civilians, including the safety of Malawians that are living in Israel.
He said: “As a long-time ally and friend of Israel, Malawi unequivocally condemns the recent terrorist attack against unarmed civilians and the ongoing captivity of civilians by Hamas.
“Under my administration, Malawi will always stand with Israel and support its pursuit of peaceful coexistence with its neighbours.”
The President has also called for the immediate release of hostages kidnapped by Hamas, “the cessation of violence by all parties” and the end of military action against civilians in Gaza.
Nevertheless, he has appealed for the opening up of corridors for the supply of humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians.
“I call on the international community to facilitate a credible path to lasting peace and security between Israel and Palestine, a path that is more sustainable than the continuation of the existing painful blockade and statelessness that the Palestinian people have been living under for decades…
“…and which various armed groups in Palestine have used as a pretext for launching inhumane terrorist attacks against Israel,” said Chakwera.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson John Kabaghe yesterday said they were monitoring the security situation in Israel and were “getting signals” that there could be a ceasefire soon.
He added that if there would be a need to evacuate Malawian citizens, government would take necessary steps to support the exercise.
“The Malawi Government is engaging in several actions. First, it is calling on the warring sides in the conflict to desist from violence and instead to come to the negotiating table.
“The Malawi Government is hopeful that the warring sides will come to an agreement and engage in negotiations, since there are many voices around the world which are echoing Malawi’s call,” Kabaghe said.
The ministry has also called on Malawians who went to Israel on their own to register with the Malawi High Commission in Nairobi so that their security situation in Israel could be monitored.
In a latest attack, a rocket hit a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday killing at least 500 people, but Israel denied responsibility for the attack, pushing the blame on a Palestinian Islamic group Jihad who have also denied.
Several international bodies including the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and Unicef have condemned the conflict.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden arrived in Israel yesterday where he had discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to show ‘solidarity’.
At least 4 200 people have, so far, been killed in the conflict which has entered its second week after Israel declared war on Gaza.