Sunday, February 25, 2018

South Africa to break all diplomatic ties with Israel

The South African government is planning to reduce diplomatic ties with Israel as a protest against the treatment of the Palestinian people, the Minister of Science and Technology of the country, Naledi Pandor, announced yesterday.

Pandor informed MPs about the government's resolution during a ten-hour joint debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA) of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa he delivered last week.

“The majority party has agreed, that government must cut diplomatic ties with Israel, given the absence of genuine initiatives by Israel to secure lasting peace and a viable two-state solution that includes full freedom and democracy for the Palestinian people,” she said.

The comments were made in response to opposition leader Kenneth Meshoe, who had argued that it was disappointing that national and provincial authorities in South Africa had refused aid from Israeli companies to address the current water crisis of the country.

However, the proposal was welcomed by parliamentarians and Pandor, who is expected to be appointed vice president in the new cabinet of Ramaphosa, got a standing ovation when she left the stage.

The government's decision was further confirmed on the official Twitter account of the South African parliament.
South Africa has been a staunch ally of the Palestinian struggle and has regularly spoken out against the atrocities of the Israeli government.

Last month, the South African representative told the UN to the Human Rights Council that Israel is the "only state in the world that can be described as an apartheid state," just a few days after the ruling party of the African National Congress (ANC) had called upon ministers to strengthen the visa restrictions of the country with Israel.

Last year, the government also decided to relegate the South African embassy in Israel to a liaison office and warned Tel Aviv against black lists of supporters from the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, with prominent figures from the ANC.

The BDS campaign in South Africa has received significant support from the country's public, with universities and churches supporting a cultural and economic boycott of Israel-affiliated organizations.

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