South Africa has taken a firm stance against the ongoing conflict in Gaza by recalling all its diplomats from Israel for consultation.
The decision comes in response to the escalating violence and the alarming number of casualties, particularly among children and innocent civilians. The South African government has labeled the situation as a potential genocide and emphasized the need for international action to prevent another holocaust in human history.
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, a minister in the president’s office, stated during a press conference that the international community cannot turn a blind eye to the atrocities unfolding in Gaza. The withdrawal of diplomats is intended to send a strong message that South Africa will not tolerate such acts of violence.
This move also reflects the government’s outrage at the conduct of Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, who has allegedly made disparaging remarks about individuals speaking out against the attacks on Palestinians. Ntshavheni emphasized that Belotserkovsky’s behavior is unacceptable and that the Foreign Ministry has been instructed to address the issue diplomatically.
Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor further expressed the deep concern of the South African government over the continuous loss of lives, particularly among the Palestinian civilian population. The diplomats returning from Tel Aviv will provide a complete briefing on the situation, enabling the ministry to assess whether the existing relations between South Africa and Israel can continue.
It is not surprising that South Africa has taken such a strong stance against Israeli attacks on Gaza, as the country has a history of opposition to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Just last week, South Africa called on the United Nations to deploy a rapid protection force to safeguard the civilian population in Gaza from further harm.
“It is imperative for all nations committed to a rules-based system rooted in international law to take immediate action,” stated the Foreign Ministry of South Africa, emphasizing the urgency of the situation.
Pretoria further called on the global community to hold Israel accountable for its violations of international law and expressed deep concern over the devastating loss of innocent lives, particularly children, in this ongoing conflict.
As a reflection of their discontent, South Africans have organized more than a dozen protests since October 7 when the Israel-Palestine conflict escalated. Activists are demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Pretoria and a recall of South African diplomats from Tel Aviv.
In response to a cross-border attack by Hamas, an armed Palestinian resistance group, Israel has carried out air and ground raids targeting the Gaza Strip.
Regrettably, these Israeli bombardments have resulted in an alarming death toll among Palestinians, with at least 10,022 lives lost, including 4,104 innocent children and 2,641 women. Tragically, Israeli casualties number nearly 1,600 based on official records.
Moreover, humanitarian conditions in Gaza have worsened significantly due to the prolonged siege imposed by Israel. The region’s already vulnerable population of 2.3 million residents face critical shortages of basic supplies amidst this dire situation.