A mural resembling the work of elusive artist Banksy, depicting President Donald Trump wearing a Jewish skullcap, adorns Israel's West Bank separation barrier in Bethlehem. File picture: Nasser Nasser/AP
Johannesburg - The ANC’s National Conference, the highest decision-making body of the ANC, has unanimously resolved to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison office.

The ANC resolution states,

"In order to give our practical expression of support to the oppressed people of Palestine; the ANC has unanimously resolved to direct the SA government to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office."

Delegates from the North West, together with branches and regions from other provinces championed the resolution, and want to ensure the speedy implementation of the resolution.

The stated intention behind the downgrade is to send a clear message to Israel that there is a price to pay for its human rights abuses and violations of international law.

BDS South Africa welcomed the decision saying, “this is a huge step in the right direction and a massive gain for the global boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel. The ANC, Africa’s oldest liberation movement which benefitted from boycotts and sanctions against Apartheid South Africa, has provided direction and we look forward to others following suit.”

The South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) and the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) have condemned the ANC’s resolution to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel, saying,

“We question the motives behind this discriminatory decision that would effectively prevent South Africa from playing any mediatory role in bringing about peace or dialogue between Israel and Palestine. This downgrade will do nothing for the Palestinian people and have a detrimental effect on South Africans. We further question the motives of organisations and individuals who have managed to “capture” the ANC’s international relations agenda including the BDS.”

In its special resolutions, the ANC’s National Conference also condemned in the strongest possible terms the decision by the US Administration to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and affirmed the OIC position that East Jerusalem is the recognised capital of the future State of Palestine.