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Ramaphosa: SA won't cut ties with Israel

Cyril Ramaphosa explained why govt won’t cut ties with Israel despite local pressure to do so.

FILE: Cyril Ramaphosa explained why govt won’t cut ties with Israel despite local pressure to do so. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa has explained why government won't cut ties with Israel despite local pressure to do so.

He told MP's in the National Council of Provinces yesterday that South Africa will lose its leverage to mediate in the Middle East if it heeds calls to sever ties with the Jewish state.

Ramaphosa says it enabled President Jacob Zuma to deploy two special envoys to the Middle East for talks with both sides to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

"It's often best when you want to solve problems to remain engaged so that you can have some leverage and this gave our president leverage to be able to send the two special envoys."

Ramaphosa reiterated only a negotiated settlement would provide a lasting resolution to the conflict, and hoped the ceasefire agreement reached this week would pave the way for such a deal.

The country has seen large pro-Palestinians protests throughout the country, with some even boycotting pro-Israeli retail stores and calling on government to expel Israel's ambassador to South Africa.

The government has however maintained its position as being neutral in dealing with this crisis.

The war, which started on 8 July resulted in over 2,000 casualties on the Palestinian side while the Israel lost 64 military personnel and 6 civilians.

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