The African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party of South Africa, voted on Tuesday in favor of downgrading South Africa’s diplomatic representation in Israel in protest of the occupation.
The decision, made during ANC’s National Policy Conference, was hailed as a “major victory for human rights and for the people of Palestine,” according to a statement released by the Western Cape branch of the ANC on Wednesday.
South Africa's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa buying Palestine merchandise & engaging activists at the BDS stall at ANC Policy Conference pic.twitter.com/2AdWVHLS5G
— BDS South Africa (@BDSsouthafrica) July 2, 2017
The Oliver Tambo Resolution – named after the prominent anti-apartheid figure who served as president of the ANC between 1967 and 1991 – states that the aim of downgrading South Africa’s embassy to Israel was to “send a strong message about Israel’s continued illegal occupation of Palestine and the continued human rights abuses against the peoples of Palestine.”
In a statment regarding the resolution, the ANC declared, “We are under no illusion that Israel and its lobby will (not) attempt to pressure the ANC, but this mighty movement will remain steadfast in advancing the interests and solidarity of our people,” the statement added. “We warn Israel not to interfere with our local politics, but instead to build a just peace with Palestinians.”