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Israel to close its embassy in South Africa

April 8, 2019 at 9:27 am

People hold placards during a demonstration by pro-Palestinian groups and other civil society organisations, in Durban on 2 June 2018 to protest against the killing of Palestinians by Israeli forces in Gaza. [RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images]

Israel is planning to withdraw its ambassador to South Africa after Pretoria began steps to downgrade its relations with Tel Aviv, Israeli radio reported yesterday.

According to the station, the Israeli embassy in South Africa will be downgraded to a representative office which would deal with consulate issues.

According to Quds Press, Israeli radio reported that that South African Foreign Minister Lindiwe Sisulu had told journalists in Johannesburg that plans to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel had already started.

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“We will not be putting up a nomination for a representative at the level of an ambassador in Israel,” Sisulu said.

“The office will remain at the level of a liaison and that is how it will operate,” she added

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) voted to downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to liaison office level 16 months ago.

However, the government took this decision after the brutal Israeli crackdown on peaceful Palestinian protesters taking part in the Great March of Return in the besieged Gaza Strip.

South Africa stands with Palestine - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

South Africa stands with Palestine – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]