PRESS STATEMENT: Downgrade of South Africa’s diplomatic relations with Israel welcomed 

12 March 2019

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organization BDS South Africa welcomes the President of South Africa’s confirmation in Parliament that South Africa will not “turn back” on the downgrade of the SA Embassy in Israel.

Ramaphosa, who referred to the downgrade as a form of “pressure on the government of Israel,” said that the decision has been “communicated very openly and clearly”. He futher added that “our position is very clear on this and that is the policy of our government and that is the way we are going to proceed”.

The downgrade, according to Ramaphosa, is “informed by our concern at the ongoing violation of the right of the Palestinain people to self determination and the refusal of the government of Israel to enter into meaningful negotiations.”

The president, answering a parliamentary question on Thusday 7th March from the National Freedom Party, also revealed that some have come to him opposing the downgrade, however, he communicated to them that “we are bound by this Conference resolution…and therefore we are moving ahead to implement that resolution”.

In response to input by ANC Member of Parliament and grandson of President Nelson Mandela, Chief Mandla Mandela, the President stressed that the decision to downgrade was taken because “we realise how the rights of Palestinians are violated and how their sovereignty and self determination has completely been disregarded and denied…the Palestinians are continuing to live under completely unacceptable conditions…South Africa therefore will be making a clear indicative signal that this is unacceptable and to that effect we are going to downgrade that embassy.”

The NFP, ANC and ANC-led government are indeed showing practical solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against Israeli Apartheid. We encourage all parties to follow suit. Click here for video footage from Parliament of Ramaphosa speaking on the downgrade of SA’s relations with Israel.


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