South Africa may sever diplomatic ties with Israel

The one factor that may stand in the way of complete severance of ties is South Africa’s fear of losing the economic support of the US.

By World Israel News Staff

South Africa is considering a total severance of diplomatic ties with Israel and may recall its charge d’affairs from the embassy in Tel Aviv.

Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor placed the blame for the October 7 massacre squarely at the feet of Israel and referred to murdered and captured Israeli civilians as “settlers” and “soldiers.”

Pandor also argued that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be prosecuted for war crimes.

Relations between Israel and South Africa have long been strained. In 2018, South Africa recalled its envoy to Israel and hasn’t filled the position since.

The government in Pretoria refuses to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and maintains a warm diplomatic relationship with Iran, one of Israel’s most powerful adversaries.

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has been steadfast in its support of the Palestinians, with President Cyril Ramaphosa recently comparing Hamas’ war on Israel with his own country’s struggle against an apartheid regime that ended in 1994.

A Hamas delegation was invited to South Africa to meet with then President Jacob Zuma in 2015 to the consternation of both Israel and the Palestinian authority.

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The one reason South Africa may decide not to entirely sever diplomatic ties with Israel is concern about possible retaliation of the United States and the ending of its participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which could threaten the livelihoods of tens of thousands of South Africans.

Chief Rabbi of South Africa Warren Goldstein criticized the South African government in a YouTube video for “betraying” Israel and being the “useful idiots” of Iran and terrorist groups such as Hamas.