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SA Jewish Board of Deputies — parly motion on Israeli embassy a 'pointless exercise'

On Tuesday parliament adopted a motion to 'close' the Israeli embassy in Pretoria temporarily. File image.
On Tuesday parliament adopted a motion to 'close' the Israeli embassy in Pretoria temporarily. File image.
Image: Anton Scholtz

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) says while parliament has adopted a motion to cut ties with Israel pending a ceasefire and UN-led negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine, it is up to the government to make the decision.  

The National Assembly on Tuesday adopted an EFF-sponsored motion to “close” the Israeli embassy and cut diplomatic relations by 248 votes in favour against 91.

The ANC, EFF, ATM and PAC supported the motion, while the DA, IFP, FF+ and ACDP opposed it. 

SAJBD chairperson Prof Karen Milner said: “It was a pointless exercise because parliament does not determine the international relations of South Africa. It is especially pointless, given Israel’s decision to withdraw its ambassador for consultation. 

“The jeers of the EFF and ANC singing From the river to the sea, a chant which calls for the destruction of the only Jewish state, makes a mockery of the ANC’s stated position of supporting a two-state solution.  

“Minister of international relations Naledi Pandor recognises how counter-productive such a resolution is.”  

Last week South African ambassador in The Hague Vusi Madonsela delivered a referral letter which asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide to hold those responsible accountable for civilian lives lost in Gaza. 

Pretoria has been vocal in its support for Palestine and calling for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be investigated for war crimes. 

On November 1, the cabinet decided to recall South Africa's diplomats from Israel for consultations.   

This was followed by a démarche against Israeli ambassador Eli Belotserkovsky by the international relations and co-operation department over his conduct relating to the war.

On Monday, the Israeli government announced it was recalling Belotserkovsky for consultations, further deepening the strained relations between Tel Aviv and Pretoria.   

Brics leaders met virtually on the humanitarian crisis in Gaza on Tuesday.   

The leaders called for accountability and “condemned individual or mass forcible transfer and deportation of Palestinians from their own land”.  

They added Israel's actions constituted “grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and war crimes and violations under international humanitarian law”. 

The Palestinian embassy in South Africa welcomed the stance taken by the leaders. 

“Palestine expresses gratitude to Brics as leaders condemn Israel's war on Gaza, calling for an end to war crimes. The virtual summit chaired by President Cyril Ramaphosa demands an urgent ceasefire to end the humanitarian crisis and denounces attacks on civilians,” the embassy said on X, formerly Twitter.



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