South Africa’s ruling party said on Thursday it will support a parliamentary motion to suspend diplomatic relations with Israel until it agrees to a ceasefire in Gaza.
The African National Congress (ANC) said it also backs calls to close the Israeli embassy in Pretoria in protest over the war raging in the Palestinian territory.
“We cannot sit back and watch the genocidal actions of the Israeli regime,” said ANC spokeswoman Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri.
“The African National Congress will agree to a parliamentary motion which calls upon the government to close the Israel embassy in South Africa and suspend all diplomatic relations with Israel.”
South Africa recalled all its diplomats from Israel earlier this month.
Fighting has raged in Gaza after an unprecedented 7 October attack by Hamas in southern Israel. Authorities say 1,200 people, mainly civilians, were killed and 239 taken hostage.
In Gaza, more than 11,500 people, also mostly civilians, have been killed in Israel’s air and ground offensive since, the Hamas-run health ministry says.
Pretoria has long been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, with the ANC — the party of late president Nelson Mandela — often linking it to its own historical struggle against apartheid.
The parliamentary motion, which is being discussed on Thursday, was put forward by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a radical leftist opposition party.
It is not binding and will need government approval to be implemented.
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