18 May 2018

South Africa: NFP to Initiate Motion in National Assembly to Downgrade SA Embassy in Israel

Following the killing of at least 60 Palestinians by Israeli armed forces stationed at the Gaza border, the NFP has announced its intention to submit a resolution to the National Assembly to downgrade South Africa's embassy in Israel.

In a statement, NFP MP Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam said the "endless barbaric acts of terrorism perpetuated against the Palestinians by the apartheid Israel regime, the mass murder of innocent Palestinians including women and children are done with absolute impunity".

He said that the issuing of press statements, recalls or withdrawals of an ambassador were temporary measures and not decisive enough considering that people were being killed and international law was being ignored.

"Today we want action. Today the NFP will help ensure that action is taken against the apartheid regime of Israel. The time to act is now, all the rhetoric in the world is fruitless if no real action is taken - I, and we as the NFP, will shake this Parliament and government into action," said Shaik Emam.

"The NFP wants decisive action, but more importantly we want real action."

He said the NFP would submit a motion and resolution to be voted on by the National Assembly that the South African embassy in Israel be immediately and unconditionally downgraded to a liaison office.

"We call upon the ANC and all members of Parliament to vote in support of this resolution and we are confident that all efforts will be made to ensure that we can swiftly table the motion."

"We will also engage the minister and president to call for the executive to implement this as soon as possible, in fact, immediately and unconditionally! The time has come for decisive action is now!"

Scores injured

Shaik Emam said the party would have the motion tabled for the next available sitting.

Earlier this week, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) announced that it had withdrawn the South African ambassador from Israel.

"Given the indiscriminate [nature] and gravity of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice," Dirco spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said on Monday.

Mabaya said the attack also resulted in scores of Palestinian citizens being injured.

He said government condemned "in the strongest terms possible the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border".

"[This] led to the deaths of over 40 [people] killed following a peaceful protest against the provocative inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem," he said.

Mabaya said South Africa reiterated its view that the Israeli Defence Forces "must withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories".

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