Association for Defending Victims of Terrorism – South Africa’s parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of a decision calling to downgrade the level of the Israeli mission to the country from embassy to a liaison office.
While symbolic politically, the decision by the South African parliament to downgrade the Israeli mission in the country is not binding but gained support of 208 lawmakers.
The decision was approved by 208 parliamentarians, while 94 rejected the motion for downgrading Israel-South Africa relations. While the parliament’s vote is politically significant, it is not legislatively binding. In order for such a vote to become policy, the government in South Africa has to adopt the motion, and inform Israel. Only then an official downgrade would take effect. The government in Pretoria has not issued yet a reaction to the vote.
The motion for downgrading relations was tabled by Ahmed Munzoor Shaik Emam of the National Freedom Party (NFP), and received the support of the African National Congress (ANC) ruling party.
In a statement, the NFP said Nelson Mandela, the late South African leader who ended apartheid, would be proud of the vote. “This is a moment Madiba [Nelson Mandela] would be proud of. He always said our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestinians,” it read. “This resolution demands accountability from Israel. … As South Africans, we refuse to stand by while Apartheid is being perpetrated again.”