The African National Congress (ANC), South Africa’s ruling social gathering, has resolved to “instantly and unconditionally” downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison workplace.

The ANC’s choice on Wednesday night, introduced throughout its 54th Nationwide Convention, got here on the eve of a UN Common Meeting emergency session the place member states resoundingly permitted a draft decision rejecting US President Donald Trump’s transfer to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

“[It] sends a transparent message to Israel that there’s a worth to pay for its human rights abuses and violations of worldwide legislation,” the ANC mentioned in an announcement.

“With a purpose to give our sensible expression of assist to the oppressed folks of Palestine, the ANC has unanimously resolved to direct the SA authorities to right away and unconditionally downgrade the South African Embassy in Israel to a liaison workplace.”

‘A sensible step in direction of peace’

Hashem Dajani, Palestine’s ambassador in Pretoria, described the transfer as “an necessary choice”.

The Palestinian motion, Hamas, launched an announcement on Thursday acknowledging ANC members and activists in South Africa’s Palestine solidarity motion “who satisfied South Africans that it was the proper ethical and moral choice for his or her nation”.

The activist group, South African Jews for a Free Palestine (SAJFP), mentioned: “the downgrade was a sensible step in direction of a simply peace”.

In an announcement, the organisation mentioned: “This transfer by the ANC actively applies stress on Israel’s authorities to finish its violations of worldwide legislation.”

However Steven Friedman, director of the Centre for the Research of Democracy on the College of Johannesburg, mentioned the ANC’s transfer was not legally binding.

Its implementation at authorities degree was additionally unsure, he mentioned.

“There are people who find themselves celebrating as if it is a performed deal, when it’s nowhere close to that,” he instructed Al Jazeera.

“Till and except the Division of Worldwide Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) takes this decision on board, it means nothing.”

DIRCO is South Africa’s overseas ministry.

Friedman mentioned that it was common for the ANC to indicate assist for the Palestinians.

“It does not imply that it’s going to translate into [government] coverage,” he mentioned.

DIRCO officers, he added, are identified to carry sympathetic views in direction of Israel.

Zionist organisation decries choice

Individually, the transfer angered the South African Board of Jewish Deputies and South African Zionist Federation.

“We query the motives behind this discriminatory choice that may successfully stop South Africa from enjoying any mediatory position in bringing about peace or dialogue between Israel and Palestine‚” the group mentioned in an announcement.

“This downgrade will do nothing for the Palestinian folks‚ and have a detrimental impact on South Africans. We additional query the motives of organisations and people who’ve managed to ‘seize’ the ANC’s worldwide relations agenda‚ together with the BDS.”

Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions, or BDS, seeks to finish the Israeli occupation and dismantle Israel’s unlawful wall and settlements, calls for full equality for Palestinian residents of Israel, and requires the rights of Palestinian refugees to be upheld.

The choice to downgrade the Israeli embassy got here on the finish of a five-day convention through which the ANC voted for a brand new chief, Cyril Ramaphosa, who takes over from President Jacob Zuma.