Calls to shutdown Israeli Embassy grows

MEMBERS of Parliament will this afternoon vote on the motion to close the Israel Embassy in Pretoria.

The motion was initiated by EFF’s leader Julius Malema, last week in a mini-plenary.

The ruling party African National Congress, is in support of the motion, expected to take place in Parliament this afternoon.

Various political parties are also in support of the motion, indicating this is “the right thing to do”.

Meanwhile, “bullying and demonisation” is how the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) described Israeli ambassador Eli Belotserkovsky’s recall by his government following South Africa’s recall of its Israel-based diplomatic staff. 

SAJBD chairperson Karen Milner chastised the ANC and the South African government after Israel’s foreign ministry called Belotserkovsky back to his native land on Monday for “consultation”. 

The Israeli government’s move follows the 6 November announcement by its South African counterpart that the latter’s diplomatic staff in Israel would be recalled for “consultation” with Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, asserting that Belotserkovsky’s “position in South Africa is becoming very untenable”.

It was Ntshavheni’s comments – echoed by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor’s views on the same day that Belotserkovsky was “disrespectful” – that drew the SAJBD’s ire, with Milner accusing the South African government of “hostility” towards Belotserkovsky. 

“This takes place against the background of a sustained campaign of demonisation and bullying of the Israeli ambassador by the ANC and the South African government in a way that was unconducive to dialogue and engagement,” Milner said.

On Tuesday, Milner said it was “a great pity that the situation in South Africa has deteriorated to the degree that Israel decided to recall its ambassador”. 

“We hope and trust that both the Israeli ambassador to South Africa and the South African ambassador to Israel will return to these respective countries [at the] conclusion of these consultations in a way that will contribute to continued dialogue and engagement in the interest of peace.” 

President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, who is expected to attend the Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal Inauguration in Durban on Wednesday, will chair the BRICS extraordinary meeting on the issue of Gaza, today.

Image (An EFF supporter outside the Israel Embassy in Pretoria. A motion is to be tabled to shut it down).

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