The motion calling for the embassy to be closed was adopted with 248 votes in favor and 91 votes against.
South Africa’s Parliament has voted in favor of a motion calling for the closure of the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, amid growing tensions between the two countries following the Israeli attack on Gaza.
This action is largely symbolic because it will be up to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government whether to implement it or not.
The motion calling for the embassy to be closed and all diplomatic relations to be suspended until a ceasefire is reached was passed Tuesday with 248 votes in favor and 91 against.
The action was launched by the left-wing opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), supported by the ruling African National Congress (ANC), and opposed by members of the Democratic Alliance ( DA) centrist, predominantly white and largely pro-Israeli.
Ramaphosa said his country believed Israel was committing war crimes and genocide in the besieged Gaza Strip, where Palestinian authorities said more than 14,128 people had been killed since October 7.
The current round of fighting began when the Palestinian armed group Hamas launched a deadly attack on southern Israel that authorities say killed around 1,200 people, but was preceded by months of growing tensions, including raids by Israeli military forces and attacks on Israeli settlers in southern Israel. Occupied West Bank.
The vote comes after Israel announced it was recalling its ambassador Eli Belotserkovsky from Pretoria “for consultations”.
The African country has not had an ambassador to Israel since 2018 and has long felt a sense of kinship with Palestinians, who have frequently drawn parallels between the Israeli occupation and South Africa’s apartheid regime which has lasted for decades.
In recent years, a growing number of rights groups have said that Israeli policies toward the Palestinians constitute a crime of apartheid, something Israel strongly denies.
South Africa also hosted a virtual summit of BRICS countries on Tuesday, during which the group of emerging economies including Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa called for a ” immediate, lasting and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities.” » in Gaza.
“As individual countries, we have demonstrated our grave concern over the death and destruction in Gaza,” Ramaphosa said in a social media post on Tuesday.
“Let this meeting be a call to unite our efforts and strengthen our actions to put an end to this historic injustice. Let us work together to achieve a just, peaceful and secure future for the people of Palestine and Israel. »
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