South Africa has taken a bold diplomatic step by recalling its ambassador and diplomatic mission from Israel, citing Israel’s actions in Gaza as “genocide.” The South African government has also warned of potential actions against the Israeli ambassador to South Africa for undisclosed remarks about the country’s stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The conflict in Gaza, which began after an attack by Hamas on Israel, has resulted in significant casualties, with over 1,400 people killed, including more than 10,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.
Minister in the presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, announced the recall of diplomats and criticized the Israeli ambassador’s remarks, calling them disparaging. The South African government has instructed the Department of International Relations to take diplomatic measures to address the ambassador’s conduct, deeming his position in the country “untenable.”
Pro-Palestinian protesters have called on the South African government to expel the Israeli ambassador and have been demonstrating outside U.S. Consulate in Johannesburg and Israeli embassies in Pretoria and Cape Town.
South Africa’s International Relations Minister, Naledi Pandor, mentioned that the recalled officials from Tel Aviv would provide a detailed briefing on the situation in the region, emphasizing their concern about the civilian casualties and the nature of Israel’s response. South Africa, closely linked to Palestine through the ruling African National Congress party, has joined other nations in calling for an immediate Gaza ceasefire and the delivery of aid to the affected region.
Chile, Colombia, Honduras, and Bolivia have also recalled ambassadors or severed diplomatic ties with Israel in protest of the military operations in Gaza.