South African parliament calls on government to shutter Israeli embassy

Cnaan Lidor is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

South Africa’s parliament passes a resolution that urges the government to shutter the embassy of Israel, which the resolution calls an “apartheid state.”

A majority of 248 members of the National Assembly vote in favor of the non-binding resolution titled “Closure of the Israel Embassy in South Africa and suspension of all diplomatic relations with Israel” by lawmaker Julius Malema of the EFF opposition party.

The ruling African National Congress voted in favor of the resolution. But 91 lawmakers from opposition parties voted against it.

That government is not legally obligated to act on the motion.

The vote follows a significant deterioration in Israel’s bilateral relationship with South Africa, whose president, Cyril Ramaphosa, has called Israel’s actions in Gaza a “genocide.”

Pretoria is hosting a virtual meeting of BRICS — a group of major emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — aimed at drawing up a common response to the Israel-Hamas war.

Hamas terrorists on October 7 murdered some 1,200 people in Israel amid brutal atrocities and abducted 240 others, among other war crimes.

Israel moved in on Gaza with the stated goal of toppling Hamas’s terror regime there. According to Hamas health authorities, the death toll in Gaza has topped 13,300. These figures cannot be independently verified, and do not distinguish between civilians and active members of the Hamas terror group. The figure also does not distinguish between those killed in Israeli strikes and those killed by hundreds of errant rockets launched by Palestinian terrorists that landed inside Gaza.

The South African Parliament calls “upon the government to close the Israeli Embassy in South Africa until a ceasefire is agreed to by Israel and that Israel commit to binding United Nations facilitated negotiations whose outcome must be just, sustainable and lasting peace,” reads the motion.

It also says Palestinians have suffered “apartheid” by Israel.

Pretoria has recalled all its diplomats from Israel.

On Monday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said it had also recalled its ambassador to Pretoria for consultations.

AFP contributed to this report.

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