South Africa intends to cut diplomatic ties with the state of Israel due to “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,” minister Naledi Pandor announced on Tuesday.
Pandor said that during a ten-hour joint debate on South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address: “The majority party has agreed, that government must cut diplomatic ties with Israel.”
The resolution has drawn criticism from the opposition leader, Kenneth Meshoe, who lamented the country’s decision to not accept the help offered by Israeli companies, to address South Africa’s water crisis.
South Africa, a former apartheid state, has been vocal in its support for the Palestinian cause against the over 50-year-old Israeli occupation and Palestine's internationally recognized claim to a sovereign state.
Palestine’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which was recently nominated to the Nobel Peace Prize, is inspired by South African non-violent resistance against apartheid and is supported by members of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.
Most recently, the African nation decided to downgrade its embassy in Tel Aviv to a liaison office after the United States declared its recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and announced it was moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city of Jerusalem in December.
The U.S. declaration caused widespread condemnation that materialized in a United Nations General Assembly resolution rejecting it, and protests across the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem that have resulted in over 50 Palestinians wounded and at least 12 killed by Israeli occupation forces.