The International Criminal Court has been urged to look into claims of war crimes committed by Israel in Gaza by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The ruling party in South Africa has said that it would back a parliamentary vote demanding the closure of the Israeli embassy there.
The African National Congress (ANC) applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa’s request for the International Criminal Court to look into Israel’s war crimes in a statement on Thursday.
“The African National Congress will consent to a parliamentary motion which calls upon the government to close the Israeli embassy in South Africa and suspend all diplomatic relations with Israel until it agrees to a ceasefire in light of the ongoing atrocities in occupied Palestine,” the statement said.
The proposal, which calls for the suspension of all diplomatic ties with Israel in support of the Palestinian people in the midst of Israel’s attack on Gaza, will be proposed later on Thursday by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). A vote on the motion is scheduled for a later time.
The EFF’s resolution is mostly symbolic as Ramaphosa’s administration will decide whether to put it into effect. However, senior foreign ministry officials and ANC leader Ramaphosa have been outspoken in their condemnation of Israel’s leadership throughout its military operation in Gaza, demanding that the ICC look into them for possible war crimes.
The ANC was at the front of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa, which is why Pretoria has always supported Palestine. With former President Nelson Mandela stating in 1997 that “we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians,” the nation compares the situation of the Palestinian people to that of Black South Africans living under white minority rule.
During a state visit to Qatar on Wednesday, Ramaphosa declared, “As South Africa, we have accordingly, along with many other countries across the world, referred this whole Israeli government action to the International Criminal Court.”
“We think there may be war crimes being committed, therefore we have filed a referral. Of course, we do not support the prior activities performed by Hamas, but we also strongly disapprove of the present actions and think the ICC should look into them,” he continued.
For nearly a month, Israel and the Palestinian organization Hamas, which controls Gaza, have been at war. On October 7, Hamas assaulted Israel, resulting in 1,200 fatalities. The Israeli air and ground assault on Gaza has resulted in the deaths of around 11,300 Palestinians.
Al Jazeera was informed by South Africa’s Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor that Israel has to end “this real crime against humanity” in Gaza.
“We are horrified by how this tragedy and atrocity that is taking place keeps becoming worse and worse. She declared on Wednesday that “I believe the world has had enough and that it is time for the most powerful people on the planet to put an end to this horror that Israel is perpetrating against the people of Palestine.”
She went on to say that there are “very, very clear similarities” between some of the actions of apartheid South Africa and the occupation of Israel.
Although South Africa hasn’t had an ambassador to Israel since 2018, it did return its diplomats from Israel earlier this month.