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9 Mar, 2019 02:54

South Africa to downgrade status of its embassy in Israel once ‘modalities’ are finalized

South Africa to downgrade status of its embassy in Israel once ‘modalities’ are finalized

Concerned with Israeli treatment of Palestinians and the lack of willingness to negotiate a two-state solution, the South African President announced that he remains committed to downgrading his country’s embassy in Tel Aviv.

“We are clear on our support for the achievement of the Palestinian state, alongside the right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security with its neighbors,” Cyril Ramaphosa told the parliament this week, urging the government to implement South Africa’s ruling party’s 2017 resolution which called for downgrading the country’s embassy in Israel to the status of a liaison office, because of the “continued Israeli violations of the rights of Palestinians.”

The South African government remains seized with the modalities of downgrading the South African Embassy in Israel and we will communicate once Cabinet has fully finalized on this matter.

​A few weeks after Donald Trump’s White House recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel and instructed the State Department to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the Holy City, the African National Congress, under the leadership of former president Jacob Zuma, passed a resolution to show “support to the oppressed people of Palestine,” stressing that the two-state solution is the only way out of the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

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​Israeli-South African diplomatic ties have been something of a love-hate relationship over the last seven decades. After South Africa become one of the first nations to recognize Israel in 1948, its ties with the Jewish state flourished under its white-minority rule. However, following the collapse of the notorious apartheid political system, which discriminated against the black majority, the country began to lean towards support of Palestinians, staging demonstrations and boycott campaigns against the state of Israel.

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