Deputy Minister of International Relations Candith Mashego-Dlamini has revealed that government is in discussions with various stakeholders over the closure of the Israeli embassy in Pretoria.
Mashego-Dlamini, who was taking part in the debate in Parliament on Thursday over government to cut ties with Israel, said South Africa cannot continue to have normal relations with Tel Aviv in the face of civilians being killed in Gaza.
She said they want the International Criminal Court (ICC) to expedite its investigations into war crimes against Israel.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in Doha, Qatar, this week that they have referred Israel to the ICC for war crimes.
Mashego-Dlamini said the conflict has led to thousands of people being killed.
She said the government will review its diplomatic relations with Israel in the midst of the crisis.
“South Africa cannot have normal relations with Israel for as long as Israel is committing war crimes and genocide against the Palestinians.
“Our government is in discussion on the matter of closing the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, and we will need to take into consideration that it may affect our diplomatic presence in Palestine. The demands from South Africans for the closure of the Israeli embassy in Pretoria have merit, and the government is engaging all relevant stakeholders regarding our diplomatic relations with Israel given the war crimes and genocide we are witnessing in Gaza,” said Mashego-Dlamini.
She said that after the continued attacks on civilian targets in the Gaza Strip, Cabinet took a decision early this month to recall all diplomatic officials from Tel Aviv.
This was after South Africa recalled its ambassador in 2018.
Mashego-Dlamini also said the ICC must expedite its investigations into the Gaza conflict.
ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan was at the Rafah border crossing a few weeks ago, but he was unable to get into the Gaza Strip because of the conflict.
However, he said his office has been investigating the issue of Palestine for some time now.
Mashego-Dlamini said the ICC must investigate officials in Israel for war crimes.
Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor first raised the issue during the debate in Parliament a week ago.
She called for the ICC to probe Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior officials over war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Mashego-Dlamini said the ICC must expedite its investigations.
“The International Criminal Court needs to expedite its investigation of Israel for committing war crimes, including genocide, by bombarding and besieging Gaza,” said Mashego-Dlamini.