Deputy Minister of International Relations, Candith Masego-Dlamini, says the government needs to take into consideration that shutting down the Israeli embassy may affect its diplomatic presence in Palestine.
Masego-Dlamini has told Parliamentarians that the government is discussing the future of the embassy in Pretoria.
On Thursday, EFF leader, Julius Malema, tabled the motion to have the embassy to be removed. Various parties, including the National Freedom Party (NFP) and Al Jama-ah, supported the motion.
The DA, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) and Freedom Front Plus, however, raised concerns that this move could damage the role of South Africa in any peace efforts.
Malema, however, believes that maintaining diplomatic ties with Israel is offensive to the South African Constitution.
“We call on Ramaphosa’s ANC government to shut down the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria and end all diplomatic relations with the brutal apartheid Israeli regime.”
Malema says Israel is at war against children, hospitals, ambulances, journalists and in a general campaign to wipe Palestine off the face of the earth.
“Israel does not see Palestinian children, it hates them the same way the apartheid regime hated black children like Tsietsi Mashinini, Hector Peterson and many who were murdered in Soweto in 1976 and beyond.”
CIC @Julius_S_Malema in Parliament, debating the closure of the Israel Embassy in South Africa and the suspension of all the diplomatic relations with Israel.
-Israel does not see Palestinian children, it hates them the same way the apartheid regime hated black… pic.twitter.com/3SG5E3TWKz
— Economic Freedom Fighters (@EFFSouthAfrica) November 16, 2023
Hospitals under siege
More than 13 000 people have been killed in the war between Israel and Hamas since October 7.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has petitioned the International Criminal Court to investigate possible war crimes against Israel following the bombing of health facilities and a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.
On Saturday, Israeli forces bombed Gaza’s biggest hospital, Al-Shifa, for a second time, reportedly injuring several staff members on duty and putting some baby patients at risk of death due to a lack of oxygen after a power outage.
Dr Mads Gilbert volunteers at the hospital. He is currently on tour here in South Africa, advocating for a cease fire in the Middle Easter after his attempts to enter Gaza from Cairo failed.
He has painted a horrific picture of how doctors are struggling to keep patients alive.
Dr Gilbert says Al-Shifa is under severe attack with no electricity or water. He says as a result, 20 ICU patients and several premature newborn babies died this week.
“If I should choose today between hell and Al-Shifa, I would choose hell. I got a report yesterday from the minister of health that 20 out of the 23 ICU patients had died. Seventeen other patients died because of lack of supplies, oxygen and water and three, if not five, of the 38 premature newborns have died because of this slow suffocation that the Israeli occupation army is exposing all the hospitals to by cutting electricity, oxygen and medical supplies.”
Dr Gilbert says no words can describe the systematic, man-made slaughtering of patients in civilian hospitals.
“What we are seeing is an unprecedented attack on a civilian society, occupied by one of the most brutal and ruthless armies in the world, exercising a systematic attack on civilian healthcare, completely against international law and the standards that we want to apply, and being back-patted all the time by the U.S. president.”
Israel has however defended its actions, saying Hamas fighters operate in tunnels underneath the hospital – an allegation the group has denied.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 36 health facilities, including 22 hospitals, have been damaged since the war began six weeks ago and only a handful are still operational.
Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza