South Africa set to downgrade its embassy in Israel
22 December, 2017, 00:50 | Author: Samuel Sharp
This unprecedented move comes amid severe worldwide backlash following US President Donald Trump's declaration that the US recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
South African media say the ANC endorsed a boycott of Israel at a party meeting in 2012 but the government did not implement it.
On the last day of the conference on Wednesday, ANC's Economic Transformation Committee announced that the party had adopted this resolution and that private shareholding at the bank should be scrapped.
The Palestinian Prisoner's Society also said that at least 490 people have been arrested since the Trump decision earlier this month, including 148 minors and 11 women.
"In order to give our practical expression of support to the oppressed people of Palestine; the ANC has unanimously resolved to direct the SA government to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office".
The decision, which ANC made at its national conference in Johannesburg, called for the "immediate and unconditional" downgrade of the embassy to a liaison office.
The South African Board of Jewish Deputies and the South African Zionist Federation jointly condemned the ANC's decision.
"Maintaining diplomatic relations with Israel allows our country to continue to engage with Israel on issues of mutual interest, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict", Ramaphosa said at the time.
"We said we would buy it when we have money without benefiting the speculators", he said.
He warned that the continued presence of many linked to corruption and "state capture" in the ANC leadership did not bode well for addressing South Africa's scourges decisively.
South Africa's ministry for global relations and cooperation said on its website that it was deeply concerned about Trump's move as it would undermine Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, which has been frozen since 2014.
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