South Africa: Ruling ANC in favour of closing Israeli embassy over onslaught in Gaza

South Africa’s ruling ANC said on Thursday it would support a parliamentary motion later today to close the Israeli embassy in Pretoria in protest at the war in Gaza.

The African National Congress (ANC) said it also supported calls for the government to suspend all diplomatic relations with Israel until it agrees to a ceasefire and engages in binding UN-facilitated negotiations.

Pretoria has long been a fervent supporter of the Palestinian cause, with the ANC often drawing parallels with its own historic struggle against apartheid.

“We cannot stand idly by in the face of the genocidal actions of the Israeli regime,” said ANC spokesperson Mahlengi Bhengu-Motsiri. “The African National Congress will approve a parliamentary motion calling on the government to close the Israeli embassy in South Africa.”

The parliamentary motion under consideration on Thursday was put forward by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), a radical left-wing opposition party. It is non-binding and will require government approval for implementation.

The war between Israel and Hamas was triggered by the Palestinian Islamist movement’s bloody attack on Israeli soil on October 7 from the Gaza Strip, which it controls. In retaliation, Israel vowed to “annihilate” Hamas, relentlessly shelling the besieged territory where the movement is based.