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South Africa Parliament votes in favour of motion to close Israel embassy

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South Africa’s Parliament has passed a motion to close Israel’s embassy in Pretoria, amid rising tensions between the two countries over the Israeli assault on Gaza.

The motion, introduced by the leftwing opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), was supported by the ruling African National Congress and opposed by the centrist, white-majority Democratic Alliance (DA), which is largely pro-Israel. President Cyril Ramaphosa has previously accused Israel of war crimes and genocide in the besieged Gaza Strip.

The vote comes after Israel announced the recall of its ambassador Eli Belotserkovsky from Pretoria for consultations. The motion calling for the closure of the embassy passed on Tuesday with 248 votes in favour and 91 votes against.

The motion is largely symbolic as it will be will be up to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government whether to implement it.The African country has not had an ambassador in Israel since 2018.