South Africa's Ruling Party Downgrades Israel Embassy to Liaison Office in Support of 'Oppressed People of Palestine'

South Africa's ruling African National Congress, attended by Hamas members, called for an 'immediate and unconditional' downgrade of its Israel embassy

Jacob Zuma, South Africa's president and Zizi Kodw, national spokesman for the African National Congress party, at the 54th national conference of the African National Congress party in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 18, 2017.
Bloomberg

South Africa's governing African National Congress (ANC) passed a resolution directing the government to downgrade the South African embassy in Israel to a liason office, BBC reported Wedesday.

The move was described as a "expression of solidarity to the oppressed people of Palestine," said the report, citing U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital as impetus for the decision.

The African National Conference approved a policy to boycott Israel at its conference in 2012. It was never, however, implemented by South Africa's government. It remains unclear as to how the ANC's most recent vote will be executed in practice, the report noted.

Delegates from Hamas and the South African Board of Jewish Deputies attended the opening of the conference, according to the Mail and Guardian.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to cut off financial aid to countries that vote in favor Thursday of a United Nations resolution rejecting Trump's December 6 recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Speaking to reporters at the White House Wednesday, Trump also expressed support for a letter sent by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, in which she warned member states against supporting the resolution.