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South African Parliament Votes to Sever Ties with Israel Amid Gaza Conflict

South African Parliament Votes to Sever Ties with Israel Amid Gaza Conflict Latest News

In a significant move, the South African Parliament has voted in favor of severing diplomatic ties with Israel, a decision driven by the recent escalation of conflict in Gaza. The majority, comprising 248 Members of Parliament (MPs), supported the motion, while 91 opposed it.

ANC and EFF Leaders Advocate for Ceasefire

The African National Congress (ANC) chief whip, Pemmy Majodina, and the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, have been vocal about the necessity of this action. They assert that Israel’s actions have compelled South Africa to take a firm stand until a ceasefire is established in the Middle East.

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“Our government has withdrawn its diplomats for consultations. When we talk about numbers, we are talking about people being killed while others are still under rubble. The Israeli embassy should remain closed,” Majodina emphasized, highlighting the human cost of the ongoing conflict.

The Motion and Its Amendments

Originally tabled by Malema, the motion underwent an amendment by Majodina. The ANC’s stance is not only for a ceasefire but also for Israel to engage in United Nations-facilitated peace talks. The party’s position is clear: the Israeli embassy must remain closed until Israel commits to these peace negotiations, aiming for a just and sustainable resolution.

Malema welcomed the ANC’s support, stating, “We support the amendment. We want to applaud the ANC for its maturity on this matter. It doesn’t matter politically; we disagree, but when it comes to the issue of humanity, we must protect the human rights of all human beings all over the world.”

Opposition Parties’ Stance

However, this decision has not been met with unanimous agreement. Parties like the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), the Democratic Alliance (DA), the African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), and Freedom Front Plus have expressed their opposition.

IFP chief whip Narend Singh cautioned against South Africa excluding itself from the peace process. He believes the country should remain an active participant rather than distancing itself.

“We feel that we should not play ourselves out of this game as South Africa. As we speak, the honourable president of our country (Cyril Ramaphosa) is leading a BRICS delegation talking about finding a peaceful solution,” Singh remarked, advocating for continued diplomatic engagement.

Similarly, DA MP Emma Powell criticized the ANC government’s approach, suggesting that it undermines South Africa’s potential role in mediating peace in the region.

International Reactions and Further Developments

In a related development, Israel’s Foreign Ministry announced the recall of its ambassador, Eliav Belotserkovsky, for consultations, a day before the parliamentary vote.

The National Freedom Party (NFP) expressed support for the motion, with Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam viewing it as a means to exert pressure on Israel to halt its military actions in Palestine.

This decision by the South African Parliament marks a significant stance in international relations, reflecting the country’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and its commitment to human rights and peace. As the situation evolves, the implications of this move on South Africa’s diplomatic relations and its role in international peace efforts remain to be seen.

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