In a significant move, the South African parliament voted decisively on Tuesday in favour of a motion proposing the closure of the Israeli embassy in Pretoria and the suspension of all diplomatic ties with Israel. The motion received strong support from 248 members of the National Assembly, while 91 lawmakers opposed it. This non-binding motion, presented by the opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters and backed by the ruling African National Congress, aims to pressure Israel into agreeing to a ceasefire in Gaza.
The parliament has declared that these diplomatic measures will remain in effect until Israel commits to a ceasefire and engages in negotiations facilitated by the United Nations.
This action follows Israel’s recall of its ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, “for consultations” on Monday. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa also led a special BRICS virtual summit on Tuesday, addressing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
Notably, South Africa recently escalated its stance against Israel by referring the nation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for an investigation into alleged war crimes. Furthermore, the South African cabinet urged the ICC to issue arrest warrants for all individuals involved, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
This series of diplomatic manoeuvres culminated earlier this month when South Africa recalled all its diplomats from the Israeli embassy.