South African parliament passes motion to close Israeli Embassy

'Free Free Palestine' chanted in parliament late on Tuesday as result of vote was announced

South African lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favor of a motion to close the Israeli Embassy in the capital Pretoria and suspend diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.

The motion, introduced last week by the third-largest opposition party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), was debated in the National Assembly, with 248 lawmakers voting in favor, while 91 opposed it.

The main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP), and several other parties voted against the motion, which still passed with the support of the ruling African National Congress party (ANC), which has a majority in the 400-seat chamber.

“The Israeli Embassy should remain closed until they agree to a cease-fire,” ANC chief whip in parliament Pemmy Majodina said on Tuesday.

“The ongoing war is not a religious war like some people here in parliament want us to believe,” she also told the house, while some lawmakers chanted “Free Free Palestine.”

South Africa recently withdrew all of its diplomats from Tel Aviv for consultation over Israel’s ongoing assault in Gaza.

“Genocide under the watch of the international community cannot be tolerated. Another holocaust in the history of humankind is not acceptable,” Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told reporters earlier this month.

For its part, Israel said this week that it was recalling its ambassador in South Africa for consultations.


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