Alwaght- The South African ruling party African National Congress (ANC) has decided that the country should cut diplomatic ties with Israel in protest of the occupying regime’s treatment of Palestinians, the country’s Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor has said.
Pandor said the ANC took a resolution during its conference last year that ties should be cut with Tel Aviv.
She said this decision was based on “the absence of genuine initiatives by Israel to secure lasting peace and a viable two-state solution that includes full freedom and democracy for the Palestinian people.”
The minister was speaking in parliament on Monday during the debate on President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address delivered last Friday.
The comments were made in response to opposition leader Kenneth Meshoe, who had argued that it was disappointing that national and provincial authorities in South Africa had refused help from Israeli companies to address the country’s current water crisis.
However, the proposal was applauded by parliamentarians and Pandor, who is expected to be appointed vice president in Ramaphosa’s new Cabinet, was given a standing ovation as she left the podium.
South Africa has been a staunch ally of the Palestinian struggle and regularly spoken out against the atrocities committed by the Israeli government.
Last month, the South African representative to the UN told the Human Rights Council that Israel is the “only state in the world that can be described as an apartheid state”, just days after the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party called for government ministers to strengthen the country’s visa restrictions with Israel.
Last year, South Africa also resolved to downgrade its embassy in Israel to a liaison office, and cautioned Tel Aviv for blacklisting supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which included prominent figures of the ANC.
The BDS South Africa campaign has witnessed significant support from the nation’s public, with universities and churches backing a cultural and economic boycott of Israel affiliated organizations.