National Assembly passes motion to close Israeli Embassy in SA

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The National Assembly has passed a motion by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to close the Israeli embassy in South Africa and sever all diplomatic ties with the country.

This was after the African National Congress (ANC) moved to support the motion with an amendment making the resolution conditional on Israel reaching a ceasefire with Palestine.

The EFF motion was debated last week and it was voted on Tuesday afternoon.

While South Africa has already recalled its diplomatic mission staff in Israel, the EFF is pressing for the expulsion of Israel’s top diplomat in South Africa.

National Assembly passes EFF motion, amended by ANC to close Israeli Embassy

EFF leader, Julius Malema says, “We want to applaud the ANC for its maturity on this matter. It doesn’t matter how we can disagree but when it comes to the issue of humanity we must protect the human rights of human beings all over the world.”

The vote was passed by 248 votes with the support of EFF, ATM, Al Jama-ah, NFP, PAC and ANC.

ANC Chief Whip, Pemmy Majodina says, “We do believe that in the case of Israel, it is the head of state who needs to have an arrest warrant used against him because we believe the evidence required is overwhelming.”

However, 91 members voted against including the FF Plus, ACDP and DA.

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Democratic Alliance (DA) member of Parliament Emma Powell says the EFF motion amended by the ANC will negatively affect 25 000 South African living in Israel.

Powell made a declaration on why the DA does not support the amendment and the motion. The ANC supported the EFF motion of closing the Israeli Embassy in South Africa and suspending diplomatic relations. But it added that the closure would continue until a ceasefire has been agree on.

Powell rejected the motion. “This motion actually runs counter-intuitive to the ANC’s stated aim of having a genuine stake in negotiating a peaceful resolution to this crisis, because by withdrawing diplomatic representation from Israel and expelling or demarche the Israeli embassy in South Africa we are severing diplomatic ties and therefore we have no genuine stake in playing a meaningful role in negotiating a peaceful resolution. And may I also say there are 25-thousand South Africans that will now not have any access to consular services.” -Additional reporting by Mercedes Besent