Ramaphosa meets with SA Jewish Board of Deputies over conflict in Middle East

President Cyril Ramaphosa said they condemn the attacks against Palestinians. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa said they condemn the attacks against Palestinians. Picture: Kopano Tlape/GCIS

Published Dec 14, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa held a meeting with the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) where he reiterated that diplomats that were recalled from Israel will remain in the country for consultations.

Ramaphosa said government still believes the conflict in the Middle East will only be resolved through dialogue.

He told the SAJBD at his residence in Mahlamba Ndlopfu that South Africa supports a two state solution with east Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.

South Africa recalled its diplomats from Tel Aviv a few weeks ago after the conflict began.

This was after it had recalled its ambassador Sisa Ngombane in 2018 following Israel’s attack in Gaza that led to the killing of 40 people. The people were taking part in a peaceful protest in the Gaza Strip.

A few weeks ago Parliament voted in support of a motion to sever all ties with Israel.

But Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said recently that Cabinet has not taken a decision on that.

Israel also recalled its ambassador Eliav Belotserkovsky for consultations.

In his meeting with the SAJBD Ramaphosa said South Africa supports the cause of the Palestinians who have been under subjugation for seven decades.

The SAJBD had wanted Ramaphosa to restore full diplomatic ties with Israel.They also wanted Ramaphosa to give assurance that the Israeli embassy in Pretoria will not be closed.

Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the president was committed to the resolution of the conflict in the Middle East.

“President Ramaphosa indicated that the South African diplomats based in Tel Aviv will remain in South Africa for consultations during the current state of conflict, however, the government will endeavour to make available all the necessary support that is required by South African citizens in need of assistance,” said Magwenya.

“The president further emphasised the government’s denunciation of anti-Semitic behaviour towards Jewish people in South Africa, including the boycott of Jewish owned businesses, and Islamophobia. Ramaphosa called on all South Africans to remain true to the tenets of the country’s constitution.”

He added that Ramaphosa also reiterated government’s call for the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes in the Middle East.

South Africa and five other countries submitted a referral to the ICC in The Hague to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his senior officials.

[email protected]

IOL Politics