South Africa’s parliament has passed a non-binding resolution urging the government to close the Israeli embassy in the country. This resolution, led by lawmaker Julius Malema of the EFF opposition party, labels Israel as an “apartheid state” and garnered 248 votes in favor, with 91 against.
The resolution comes amidst a worsening of bilateral relations between Israel and South Africa. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has previously described Israel’s actions in Gaza as a “genocide.” This parliamentary motion is part of a broader context where Pretoria, currently hosting a virtual BRICS meeting, is seeking a unified response to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Notably, the resolution is not legally binding, meaning the South African government is not obligated to act on it. However, it reflects significant political sentiment within the country.
The backdrop of this resolution includes recent violent events. Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by multiple countries, reportedly killed about 1,200 people in Israel and committed other war crimes. Israel’s military action in Gaza, aimed at dismantling Hamas’s regime, resulted in over 13,300 deaths, according to Hamas health authorities. These figures, which include a mix of civilians and Hamas members, are not independently verified.
The South African parliament’s motion also highlights the Palestinians’ suffering under what it terms “apartheid” by Israel. In response to the situation, Pretoria has recalled all its diplomats from Israel, and Israel has similarly recalled its ambassador to South Africa.
This development is significant in the international context, illustrating the complexities and tensions in the Israel-Palestine conflict and its global diplomatic repercussions.