ANC votes to downgrade SA embassy in Israel in support of Palestine
The party's subcommittee on International Relations adopted the position at its national conference on Thursday.
JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) has moved to direct government to immediately downgrade the South African embassy in Israel to a liaison office.
The party's subcommittee on international relations adopted the position at its national conference on Thursday.
The move is aimed at expressing support with the people of Palestine.
The ANC’s secretary-general Ace Magashule says the conference has reached an unanimous decision.
“Delegates endorsed the proposal that we must give the support to the oppressed people of Palestine, and resolve on an immediate and unconditional downgrade of the South African embassy to a liaison office.”
This move is in opposition to a recent announcement by US President Donald Trump who instructed his administration to begin a process of recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
It is also seen as a swipe against the Israeli government on their continued occupation of the West Bank in Palestine.
‘SA WILL BE POLITICALLY POORER’
The South African Jewish Board of Deputies and the Zionist Federation have condemned the ANC’s resolution to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel to a liaison office.
The Jewish Board of Deputies says the downgrade will do nothing for the people of Palestine and have a detrimental effect on South Africans.
In a statement sent just moments after the announcement, the Jewish Board of Deputies questioned the motive behind the ANC’s decision, alleging that the party's foreign policy formulation process has been hijacked by forces that have limited interest in promoting the well being of the local Jewish community.
The board says that South Africa will be politically poorer, forfeiting a meaningful role to play as a peace broker between Israel and Palestine.
This stance by the board comes despite recent protests at Parliament, where demonstrators demanded the withdrawal of the South African embassy from Israel.
(Edited by Shimoney Regter)