No decision made to close Israel Embassy, says Ntshaveni

No decision made to close Israel Embassy, says Ntshaveni

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says the government has not made a decision to close the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria.

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni
X(formerly twitter)@Khu_Ntshavheni

Ntshavheni briefed the media on Monday morning following a cabinet meeting last week.

The debate over South Africa’s diplomatic ties with Israel follows the widespread condemnation of its bombardment of Gaza, which has resulted in the displacement of thousands of Gazans and a devastating humanitarian crisis with food, water, fuel and medical supply shortages.

Some pro-Palestine civic organisations and political parties have called for the expulsion of the ambassador.  

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) has since demarched the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotsercovsky.

The South African government has also withdrawn its diplomats from Tel Aviv “for further consultation.”

Ntshavheni says for now, writing to the International Criminal Court to investigate possible war crimes remains the final action from South Africa.

"The ICC has been able to investigate the situation in Palestine since 2021, when the issue of territorial jurisdiction was settled. However, we have noted that the office of the prosecutor has continued to drag its feet despite the gravity of the situation.

"The current atrocities may not have occurred if these investigations took place as soon as the Palestinian authorities first made its referral."

The National Assembly sat on Monday afternoon to vote on a draft resolution by EFF leader Julius Malema calling for the closure of the Israeli Embassy in South Africa and the suspension of all diplomatic relations with Israel.

A draft resolution on the issue was debated by MPs last week.

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