Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

South Africa’s government made a significant move today by recalling its diplomatic mission to Israel in strong condemnation of the ongoing bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which they have labeled as a “genocide.”

The government has also issued a warning to the Israeli ambassador to South Africa over unspecified remarks made regarding South Africa’s stance on the Israel-Hamas war. While no further details about these remarks were provided, tensions seem to be escalating.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas began on October 7, triggered by an attack from the Palestinian militant group, resulting in a tragic loss of over 1,400 lives. Hamas claims that more than 10,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s military offensive in Gaza.

Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, announced the recall of diplomats from Tel Aviv, stating, “The South African government has decided to withdraw all its diplomats in Tel Aviv for consultation.” She also pointed out the Israeli ambassador’s alleged “disparaging remarks” and expressed the government’s commitment to take necessary measures within diplomatic channels to address the situation.

Ntshavheni deemed the position of the Israeli ambassador in the country as “untenable,” and pro-Palestinian protesters have been urging the South African government to expel the ambassador from the country.

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor, hosting her Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, said that recalling the diplomats was necessary to provide the government with a detailed briefing on the situation in the region. She expressed grave concerns about the ongoing violence in the Palestinian territory and described Israel’s response as “collective punishment.”

Furthermore, Minister Ntshavheni accused Israeli ambassador Eliav Belotserkovsky of making derogatory comments about South Africans who have spoken out against the actions of the Israeli government. The South African government has conveyed its displeasure through diplomatic channels regarding these remarks.

In addition to this, Minister Pandor emphasized the importance of maintaining diplomatic decorum and said, “There seems to be a strange practice among some ambassadors in South Africa, that they can just say what they like… I don’t know if it’s because it’s an African country and they disrespect us, but it’s something that we should not tolerate.”

This recent move by South Africa reflects the nation’s strong ties with Palestine and its call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, as well as the allowance of aid into the embattled enclave.

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