The ANC national policy conference on Tuesday adopted a policy recommendation to downgrade the South African embassy in Tel Aviv to a liaison office in a bid to reduce diplomatic ties with the apartheid regime.
ANC Western Cape provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs says that a debate had taken place as to whether the embassy should be shut down or to gradually reduce its function in Israel.
“The initial call by some provinces was that we close our embassy in Israel. However, a consensus agreement was reached that we recommend a downgrade to a Liaison Office,” Jacobs said.
On Tuesday, the NPC adopted the downgrade recommendation and it is set to be ratified in December at the ANC’s elective conference, Jacobs said. The ANC Western Cape has called it the Oliver Tambo Resolution, after the stalwart.
“The commission called for the downgrading of the SA Embassy in Israel to send a strong message about Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine and the continued human rights abuses against the peoples of Palestine,” the resolution on the downgrade reads.
The ANC Western Cape made the recommendation because it says Israel has continued to treat Palestine with violence instead of attempting to reach a peace agreement.
“Our embassy has failed to achieve its necessary political objective over the past 22 years in moving Israel closer to a resolution on the Palestinian question,” Jacobs said.
ANC also considers Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions on Israel part of its official policy.
ANC resolution 35 (g) passed in 2012 calls for “all South Africans to support the programs and campaigns of the Palestinian civil society which seek to put pressure on Israel to engage with the Palestinian people to reach a just solution.”