South Africa’s parliament on Tuesday voted decisively in favor of the closure of the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria, one day after the Jewish state recalled its own envoy back to Jerusalem for consultations amid growing hostility from the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and left-wing parties over the ongoing war in Gaza.
A motion submitted by the far left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was backed by the ANC, passing with 248 votes in favor to 91 against. Members of the centrist Democratic Alliance (DA) largely voted against the motion. After its passage, several members of parliament, many of them bedecked in Palestinian flags and keffiyeh scarves, chanted the slogan “From the River to the Sea, Palestine Will Be Free” — widely interpreted as a call for Israel’s elimination as a sovereign state.
The parliamentary vote coincided with a virtual meeting of the BRICS bloc of states — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — on the conflict in Gaza triggered by the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in southern Israel that was hosted by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Slamming Israel for actions that were “tantamount to genocide,” Ramaphosa declared that the “root cause of this conflict is the illegal occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel.”
“The actions by Israel are in clear violation of international law, including the UN Charter and the Geneva Convention read together with its protocols. Let this meeting stand as a clarion call for us to combine our efforts and strengthen our actions to end this historical injustice,” Ramaphosa told the meeting, which included delegations from new BRICS member states Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates. UN Secretary-General António Guterres was also in attendance.
Ramaphosa’s speech followed last week’s decision by South Africa to refer what it called Israel’s “genocide” in Gaza to the International Criminal Court for an investigation, with its cabinet calling on the ICC on Monday to issue an arrest warrant against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“Given that much of the global community is witnessing the commission of these crimes in real time, including statements of genocidal intent by many Israeli leaders, we expect that warrants of arrest for these leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, should be issued shortly,” South African minister in the presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, told reporters.
Earlier this month, South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel and withdrew all its diplomatic staff from the country.
South African Jews meanwhile expressed regret at Israel’s decision to withdraw its Ambassador, Eliav Belotserkovsky, blaming the ANC’s “hostility and discrimination against the world’s only Jewish state” for Jerusalem’s decision.
In a statement, the chair of the South African Zionist Federation (SAZF), Rowan Polovin, condemned the “South African government’s one-sided and irresponsible rhetoric during this period,” which “alongside a refusal to even engage in dialogue with Israel, has had absolutely no impact on establishing peace between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Polovin added that “South Africa’s act is one of self-sabotage that has removed our country from having any meaningful role to play contributing to an end to the current war started by Hamas, or any peace efforts into the future. All it has achieved is deepen the divisions in South Africa, undermine our country’s international standing and economic interests, and harm the constitutional rights of our citizens.”
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Protester Sets Self on Fire Outside Israeli Consulate in Atlanta
i24 News – A protester was in critical condition on Friday after setting themself on fire outside the Israeli consulate in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. authorities said. A security guard who tried to intervene was also wounded.
A Palestinian flag found at the scene was part of the protest, Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum said at a news conference. He added that investigators did not believe there was any connection to terrorism and none of the consular staff was ever in danger.
JUST IN: A pro-Palestine protester is in critical condition after they set themselves on fire in “political protest” outside of the Israeli Consulate office in Atlanta.
The protester was reportedly draped in a Palestine flag.
The protester has severe burns and unfortunately, a… pic.twitter.com/B8nUQAj2nU
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 1, 2023
“We do not see any threat here,” he said. “We believe it was an act of extreme political protest that occurred.” Everyone inside the consulate building was said to be safe.
Anat Sultan-Dadon, Consul General of Israel to the southeastern U.S., said: “We are saddened to learn of the self-immolation at the entrance to the office building. It is tragic to see the hate and incitement toward Israel expressed in such a horrific way.”
“The sanctity of life is our highest value. Our prayers are with the security officer who was injured while trying to prevent this tragic act. We are grateful to the city of Atlanta’s law enforcement and first responders for all they do to ensure safety.”
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Released Israeli Hostages Call for Captives to Be Freed
Israeli hostages released in the past week by Hamas in Gaza called on Saturday for the immediate release of fellow captives left behind, a day after a temporary truce that had allowed scores to come home broke down.
Tens of thousands gathered at a rally in Tel Aviv outside Israel‘s defense headquarters, where they cheered Yelena Trupanov, 50, standing on a stage just two days after being freed.
“I came to thank you because without you I wouldn’t be here. Now we must bring back my (son) Sasha, and everyone. Now.”
Similar pleas from other released hostages were shown on video.
A seven-day truce, during which Hamas had released more than 100 hostages, collapsed on Friday after Hamas breached the ceasefire.
Israel said on Saturday it had recalled a Mossad intelligence agency team from Qatar, host of indirect negotiations with Hamas, accusing the Palestinian faction of reneging on a deal that would have freed all children and women held hostage.
More than 240 people – Israelis and foreign nationals – were abducted to Gaza on Oct 7. by Hamas terrorists who burst through the border with Israel and killed 1,200 people.
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IDF Foils Stabbing Attack Near Nablus in West Bank, Eliminates Terrorist
i24 News – The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported thwarting a stabbing attack on Saturday afternoon against reserve Battalion 7037 at the X junction near Nablus in the West Bank.
According to the IDF spokesperson, the event unfolded when the forces at the roadblock became suspicious of an individual approaching the barricade.
During the questioning process, the suspect suddenly drew a knife and advanced towards the IDF personnel.
ניסיון פיגוע דקירה אירע לפני זמן קצר לעבר כוח צה”ל במילואים מגדוד 7037 שפעל בחסם בצומת האיקס סמוך לעיר שכם שבמרחב חטיבת שומרון.
הכוח חשד במחבל שהגיע לחסם והחל לתחקר אותו, המחבל שלף סכין והחל להתקדם לעבר הכוח.
הלוחמים חתרו למגע והגיבו בירי לעבר המחבל שחוסל. אין נפגעים לכוחותינו. pic.twitter.com/mEaJs58hpE
— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי – Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) December 2, 2023
The soldiers, faced with the threat, engaged in contact procedures and ultimately responded by opening fire on the assailant. The spokesperson confirmed that the attacker was neutralized due to the IDF’s action.
It was also noted that there were no casualties among the IDF forces involved in the incident. According to the spokesperson, the situation at the X junction has stabilized, and IDF continues to maintain vigilance in the area to prevent further attacks.
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