South Africa’s ruling ANC party moves to downgrade ties with Israel

Applauded by Hamas, the ANC has approved a resolution to downgrade the country’s embassy in Israel.

By: JNS.org and World Israel News

South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) party on Wednesday approved a resolution to downgrade the country’s embassy in Israel.

The decision, which ANC made at its national conference in Johannesburg, called for the “immediate and unconditional” downgrade of the embassy to a liaison office.

“In order to give our practical expression of support to the oppressed people of Palestine, the ANC has unanimously resolved to direct the SA government to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office,” said a statement from the party.

“We concur with the PLO leader, General Jibril Rajoub, who was at our conference where he explained that the downgrade of the SA Embassy in Israel will send a clear message to Israel that there is a price to pay for its human rights abuses and violations of international law,” the ANC added.

ANC’s move stemmed from a call by the party’s Western Cape branch in January 2017 to downgrade ties with Israel. The issue picked up steam in recent weeks following President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and expression of plans to move the US embassy to that city.

Both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas sent delegates to ANC’s national conference to observe the events surrounding the South African party’s decision on Israel.

The Palestinian ambassador to South Africa Hashem Dajani welcomed the ANC move, describing it as “an important decision.”

On Sunday, Hamas congratulated the ANC for the election of its new leadership. “Hamas will always stand with the ANC in the battle against poverty, apartheid, monopoly capitalism and imperialism,’ the terror group stated, while pointing out that “the ANC has long been a friend of the Palestinian people, and a champion for Palestinian rights.”

“We welcome a South African role in assisting Palestinians to realize our liberation from an apartheid system and state similar to (and in some cases worse than) what South Africans were confronted with in the past,” Hamas added.

The ANC has a long history of anti-Israel action.

It was reportedly behind a failed attempt to cancel the Africa-Israel Summit held in October.

In October 2015, ANC hosted a meeting with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal on the same day that Hamas called for suicide bombings against Israelis. That same month, the ANC urged its citizens not to travel to Israel unless it is to promote “solidarity with the Palestinian struggle.”