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South Africa to downsize embassy in Israel in protest of Trump

Dec. 21, 2017 11:12 A.M. (Updated: Dec. 22, 2017 1:38 P.M.)
South African protesters march in support of Palestine in 2015 (File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The African National Congress (ANC), the ruling party in South Africa, decided on Wednesday to downsize its embassy in Israel to a liaison office, in response to the American government’s controversial policy changes in the country.

Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that the decision was made directly in response to US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

“In order to give our practical expression of support to the oppressed people of Palestine, the ANC has unanimously resolved to direct the SA government to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a Liaison Office,” Wafa quoted the ANC statement as saying.

The ANC said that their move would “ send a clear message to Israel that there is a price to pay for its human rights abuses and violations of international law.”

Meanwhile, according to Wafa, Palestine ambassador to South Africa, Hashem Dajani, welcomed the move as “an important decision,” expressing hope that it would encourage other international powers to follow South Africa's lead.

Trump's decision on Jerusalem has been met by international condemnation and has escalated tension in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Since his decision, 10 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces, while hundreds others have been injured and arrested.

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