JOHANNESBURG, July 5 – The African National Congress has called for the downgrading of the South African Embassy in Israel due to the ongoing conflict with Palestine, saying that it was concerned by the lack of commitment from Israel on Palestine.
Speaking at the 5th national policy conference on Tuesday evening, ANC’s international relations commission chairperson Merriam Segabutla said this was one of the ways the ANC was intensifying the solidarity campaign with the people of Palestine, and also pressurising the Israel government.
“The commission reaffirmed the ANC’s unwavering and steadfast commitment for the struggle of the people of Palestine. The commission expressed its disappointment by the Israel’s lack of commitment towards peace with the Palestine people,” Segabutla said.
“The commission debated the continued illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel which is at its 50th year, and Israel’s non-compliance with the international law. The commission called for the downgrading of the South African embassy in Israel to send a strong message about Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine and continued human rights abuses against the people of Palestine.”
Segabutla said there was, of course, another call for a complete and total shut down of the South African Embassy in Israel.
“However, the dominant view was that of downgrading the South African embassy in Israel,” Segabutla said.
“There was also a call for ANC to make a risk analysis on the calling for a downgrade of the Embassy, and that such an assessment inform the downgrade of the South African Embassy in Israel.
“The commission recommended that the ANC must continue to focus more attention on uniting the Palestine parties, and that the ANC host a global solidarity conference on Palestine consisting of liberation movements of Palestine and all other international progressive movements which support the liberation of the Palestine people.”
Meanwhile, Segabutla said that the ANC called for the release of the popular Kurdish nationalist leader and one of the founding members of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Abdullah Öcalan.
“The commission recommended that the ANC support the Kurdish people struggle for political rights, peace and justice in the Middle East, and urged all role players to engage for a political solution in the conflict,” Segabutla said.
“For the ANC to further call for the release of the Kurdish people’s leader, Abdullah Öcalan, and all political prisoners.”