South Africa is recalling its ambassadors from Tel Aviv, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Monday, stopping short of calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, from the country.
“A genocide under the watch of the international community cannot be tolerated. Another holocaust in the history of humankind is unacceptable,” Ntshavheni said during a media briefing on decisions taken at a Cabinet meeting on 1 November.
This move comes after Chad recalled its ambassador to Israel on 4 November – the first African country to do so.
“Chad condemns the loss of innocent civilian lives and calls for a ceasefire leading to a sustainable solution to the Palestinian issue,” read a statement issued by the Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Chad and South Africa follow in the footsteps of Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Honduras, Jordan, Bahrain, and Turkey, who have all recalled their top envoys.
During the briefing, Ntshavheni indicated that Cabinet has instructed the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) to act against Belotserkovsky, whose position “is becoming very untenable”.
“Cabinet has also noted the continuing disparaging remarks of the Israeli ambassador to South Africa about those who are opposing the atrocities and genocide of the Israeli government,” she said.
The Israeli embassy in Pretoria, South Africa’s administrative capital, has been the site of multiple protests and pickets calling for the Israeli ambassador’s removal from the country.
South Africa’s decision is in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pledge of solidarity with the Palestinian people on 16 October, a statement that came on the sidelines of a meeting of the ruling party’s National Executive Committee.
The governing African National Congress has, in previous years, likened Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories to South Africa’s brutal apartheid regime.
Both Chad and South Africa have emphasised that these moves are a “serious signal” that the respective governments stand firm in their repudiation of the conflict that has thus far claimed close to 10, 000 lives.
Understand Africa’s tomorrow… today
We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.