South African ruling party calls to downgrade ties with Israel

African National Congress calls for the downgrading of Embassy in Israel due to alleged Israeli “lack of commitment on Palestine”.

Elad Benari ,

Flag of South Africa
Flag of South Africa

South Africa's ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) is again singling out Israel for criticism.

The ANC on Tuesday called for the downgrading of the South African Embassy in Israel due to what it said was the “lack of commitment from Israel on Palestine”, reported The Citizen.

Speaking at the ANC's national policy conference, the party's international relations commission chairperson, Merriam Segabutla, said this was one of the ways the ANC was intensifying the solidarity campaign with the “people of Palestine”, and also pressuring the Israeli government.

“The commission reaffirmed the ANC’s unwavering and steadfast commitment for the struggle of the people of Palestine. The commission expressed its disappointment by the Israel’s lack of commitment towards peace with the Palestine people,” Segabutla was quoted as having said.

“The commission debated the continued illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel which is at its 50th year, and Israel’s non-compliance with the international law. The commission called for the downgrading of the South African embassy in Israel to send a strong message about Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine and continued human rights abuses against the people of Palestine,” added Segabutla.

The ANC has continuously criticized Israel. Earlier this year, South African President and ANC leader Jacob Zuma urged South Africans not to visit Israel in order to show solidarity with “the people of Palestine”.

The government in South Africa has frequently accused Israel of applying a policy of “apartheid” towards Palestinian Arabs. One such example was when the ANC party proposed new rules regarding dual citizenship meant to stop South African citizens from joining the IDF.

In another example, the county’s Foreign Minister slammed Israel's plans to build new homes in Jerusalem, saying she was “losing sleep” over the size of “Palestine”.

In March of this year, South Africa’s Minister of Water and Sanitation accused Israel of conducting a system of water apartheid against Palestinian Arabs and also blasted the as a “murderous machine.”

In another incident, ANC's Deputy Secretary-General Jessie Duarte called on the government to strip South African Jews of their citizenship if they had drafted into the IDF.

Following those remarks, Israel summoned South Africa’s ambassador to Israel for a rebuke.