South Africa’s ruling party is drawing up plans to close Israel’s embassy in the country and suspend regular diplomatic relations in response to the military operation in Gaza, according to a document seen by Semafor.
South Africa has “no choice but to call for the closure of the Israeli embassy to South Africa” due to the Israel’s refusal to end its military operation in Gaza, it says in the document: “Until Israel adheres to international law and engages in a meaningful peace process to end the occupation of Palestine, we can no longer hold normal relations with an Apartheid State.”
Two people with direct knowledge of discussions within the governing party said senior ANC figures close to President Cyril Ramaphosa were calling on his administration to sever ties with Israel for the foreseeable future.
Last week South Africa recalled its diplomats from Israel because of mounting concerns over “the continued killing of children and innocent civilians in the Palestinian territories.” It joined Jordan, Turkey, Chile, Columbia, and other countries in taking that step.
But closing the embassy represents an escalation from a country that has been a consistent critic of Israel. Its officials, including Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor, have compared the treatment of Palestinian people to South Africa’s apartheid history.