South Africa: Pretoria Permanently Withdraws Its Ambassador From Israel

Flags of South Africa, left, and Israel, right.
analysis

International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says withdrawing SA ambassador is just 'stage one' in downgrading relations with Tel Aviv.

The South African government has implemented what International Relations Minister Sisulu calls "stage one" of its programme of downgrading relations with Israel, by withdrawing its ambassador from Tel Aviv permanently.

Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Lindiwe Sisulu announced this on Thursday evening in an address to the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) in Johannesburg.

Sisulu also suggested that eventually Israel would no longer have an ambassador in South Africa. If so, the government would be going even further than the ANC did at its conference in December 2017 when it decided to direct the government "to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office".

The ANC resolution did not direct the government also to downgrade Israel's embassy in Pretoria.

Sisulu told SAIIA that the ANC already had "no relations with Israel" and would like the government to adopt that position as soon as possible.

In her prepared remarks for the SAIIA lecture, Sisulu said that after Israeli security forces had shot Palestinian protesters on the Israel-Gaza border in 2018, Pretoria had immediately...

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