Home South African Cabinet has not decided on closure of Israeli embassy, says Pandor

Cabinet has not decided on closure of Israeli embassy, says Pandor

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International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor says Cabinet has not taken a decision to shut down the Israeli embassy despite a resolution of Parliament last year.

Minister of International Relations Naledi Pandor said Cabinet has not met to discuss the closure of the Israeli embassy. Picture: Leon Lestrade, Independent Newspapers.

INTERNATIONAL Relations and Co-operation Minister Naledi Pandor says Cabinet has not taken a decision to shut down the Israeli embassy despite a resolution of Parliament last year.

Members of the national legislature voted in support of a resolution to close the Israeli embassy in Pretoria in November following the bombardment of Gaza.

Pandor said on Wednesday that Cabinet has not discussed the matter. She said they remain concerned about the escalation of the conflict with Israel that is threatening 1.2 million people in Rafah.

Pandor was one of several ministers in the Security Cluster who were answering questions in Parliament on Wednesday.

“The Cabinet has indeed received the notice of the resolution that was adopted by the National Assembly and Cabinet is yet to deliberate and finalise the issue of closure of the Israeli embassy in South Africa and the suspension of all diplomatic ties until a ceasefires is agreed to by Israel,” said Pandor.

“With respect to South Africa, you would be aware that the ambassador of Israel was withdrawn by his own country and that South Africa has closed its embassy in Israel, and that all that is operational in terms of provision of services to citizens in that part of the Middle East region, we have the embassy in Ramallah.

“On the matter of the genocide that we believe is under way in Gaza, we have made our approach to the International Court of Justice. The honourable member is aware of the provisional measures that were laid down by the ICJ and is also aware that Israel has not responded positively on the measures that the ICJ set out and that we have alerted the ICJ to our concerns as to the danger posed to innocent Palestinians.”

Pandor said they believe Israel was committing genocide in Gaza and needs to be stopped.

She said they are in contact with stakeholders in Israel who are in support of the peace process. But the South African government has not been in touch with the Israeli government.

They believe more action must be considered by the government to indicate the seriousness of the conflict given the threat faced by 1.2 million people in Rafah.

One of the options at hand was to support the release of hostages by Hamas.

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