South Africa has decided to recall its diplomats stationed in Israel for “consultations,” as announced by Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, the South African Minister in the Presidency. The minister added that the decision was made to express concern over the situation in the region.
“Pretoria is disappointed by the Israeli government’s refusal to respect international law,” said the South African minister during a press conference.
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni announced the departure of all South African diplomats from Tel Aviv for consultations, denouncing ongoing Israeli airstrikes on schools and clinics in the Gaza Strip.
The minister also criticized the statements made by the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, deeming them “disparaging” toward those opposing the atrocities and “genocide committed by the Israeli government.”
“The position of the Israeli ambassador is becoming untenable,” she said, adding that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to address this matter soon.
Relations between the two countries have been strained for a long time. Pretoria has consistently supported the Palestinian cause, associating it with its struggle against apartheid.
Four years ago, South Africa decided to downgrade its relations with Israel by permanently recalling its ambassador and reducing its embassy in Israel to a mere liaison office.