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South Africa calls on ICJ to declare Israel as 'apartheid state'

Naledi Pandor addresses the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City, New York, US, September 28, 2019. (Photo by Reuters)

South Africa says it is in the process of submitting a petition to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to demand that Israel be declared an "apartheid state."

Speaking to a parliamentary session on Saturday, Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor said that South Africa and Palestine were currently working on formulating practical strategies towards taking up the Palestinian cause to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the ICJ, in The Hague, to "declare Israel as an apartheid state.”

“South Africa will directly petition the ICJ to give advisory opinion on the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967,” the foreign minister said.

Pandor went on to say that on a global level, Cape Town supported Palestinian efforts to obtain membership in the UN and "the creation of positive, credible, and lasting international mechanisms to address the Palestinian cause based on international law."

South Africa recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv in 2018. Ever since, the South African Embassy in Tel Aviv has been headed by a charge d'affaires, according to the foreign minister.

On Tuesday, South Africa’s Parliament voted on a non-binding resolution to close the Israeli Embassy in the country and sever diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv until the regime agrees to a ceasefire in Gaza.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa had also called on the ICC to investigate Israel’s war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement last week that his office had received the referral and that his office was investigating the situation in Palestine.

Israel waged its genocidal war after the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas launched Operation Al-Aqsa Storm inside the occupied territories in October. The regime has killed at least 14,854 people, including more than 6,150 children and 4,000 women, in Gaza.

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