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South Africa to downgrade diplomatic status in Israel

South Africa says it will downgrade its diplomatic status in Israel in response to the United States’ decision to recognize Jerusalem al-Quds as the Israeli regime’s “capital.”

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) Party announced the decision at a conference in Johannesburg late on Wednesday.

“The ANC’s National Conference, the highest decision making body of our organization, has unanimously resolved to immediately and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison office,” the ruling party said in a statement.

The ANC said the resolution aimed to “give practical expression to the oppressed people of Palestine,” and “will send a clear message to Israel that there is a price to pay for its human rights abuses and violations of international law.”

South Africa’s decision to downgrade its diplomatic status in Tel Aviv had been proposed in the ANC’s policy conference back in July.

Both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas had sent delegates to attend the opening of the ANC’s conference.

US President Donald Trump earlier this month declared that Washington was recognizing Jerusalem al-Quds as the “capital” of Israel and that he had instructed his administration to begin the process of moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

The dramatic shift in Washington’s policy on Jerusalem al-Quds drew fierce criticism from the international community, including Washington’s Western allies, and triggered protests against the US and Israel worldwide.

The United Nations General Assembly is to vote on a resolution to demand that Trump withdraw his decision in an “emergency meeting” on December 21. The US  voted a vote on a similar resolution at the UN Security Council on Monday.

Israel lays claim to the whole Jerusalem al-Quds, but the international community views the ancient city’s eastern sector as occupied land and the Palestinians consider it their future capital.

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