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Middle East

South Africa: Plans to downgrade Israel embassy well underway

Monday 08/April/2019 - 10:52 AM
South African Foreign
South African Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu
South African Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu told journalists in Johannesburg on Sunday that her country’s plans to downgrade its embassy in Tel Aviv were well underway، AFP reported.

In a speech last week، Sisulu announced that the South African ambassador to Israel، who was recalled last May، will not be replaced.

"We will not be putting up a nomination for a representative at the level of an ambassador in Israel،" Sisulu said on Sunday، according to AFP.

"The office will remain at the level of a liaison and that is how it will operate،" she added.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) resolved to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to liaison office level 16 months ago.

Last May، South Africa withdrew its ambassador to Israel in protest against the deadly violence along the Israel-Gaza border.

The decision came after the Hamas organization led violent and mass acts in protest against the inauguration of the new United States embassy in Jerusalem. Hamas later openly admitted that most of those who were killed in those violent riots were members of the group.

Last month، South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that his government would downgrade its embassy in Israel in accordance with the ANC resolution calling for the downgrading of South Africa's Embassy in Tel Aviv.

Anti-Israel sentiments remain prevalent in South Africa، where the government has frequently accused Israel of applying a policy of “apartheid” towards Palestinian Arabs. One such example was when the ANC party proposed new rules regarding dual citizenship meant to stop South African citizens from joining the IDF.

In another example، the county’s Foreign Minister slammed Israel's plans to build new homes in Jerusalem، saying she was “losing sleep” over the size of “Palestine."

Edited by Rabea Yehia

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