South African lawmakers suspend diplomatic ties with Israel, close embassy

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Johannesburg (TVA)— On Tuesday, a majority of South African parliament decided to close the Israeli embassy and terminate diplomatic ties until Israel commits to a Gaza cease-fire.

In a conference with other world leaders, President Cyril Ramaphosa accused Israel of genocide in Gaza with its military offensive to find Hamas militant rulers. The ruling African National Congress party approved the proposal.

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Pemmy Majodina, chief whip of the ruling African National Congress, addresses members of parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2023. The majority of MP’s voted to close the Israeli embassy in South Africa over the war in Gaza. (AP Photo/Nardus Engelbrecht)

The opposing Economic Freedom Fighters resolution was supported by 248 parliamentarians and opposed by 91.

Israel’s foreign ministry summoned its ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, to Jerusalem “for consultations.”

The Gaza war has strained relations between the two nations. Ramaphosa earlier stated his country believes Israel is committed war crimes in Gaza, where hundreds have died.

The International Criminal Court was asked to investigate Israel’s “genocide” in Gaza by South Africa last week. Its government has requested an ICC arrest warrant for Benjamin Netanyahu.

South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel and withdrew its diplomatic personnel this month.

President Ramaphosa made the statements Tuesday during a virtual BRICS meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

On Oct. 7, Hamas’ surprise attacks on Israel killed 1,200 people, starting the conflict. Palestinian health officials say Israel’s retaliation bombings on Gaza have killed around 12,700 people.


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