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Israel recalls ambassador to South Africa


The Foreign Ministry of Israel said it was recalling its ambassador following statements by Pretoria over Israel’s military operations in Gaza.

File picture: Jacques Naude, Independent Newspapers

ISRAEL has recalled its ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, for consultations.

This happened before Parliament was on Tuesday expected to vote on a motion to close the Israeli embassy in Pretoria.

Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni on Monday called for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue a warrant of arrest for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his senior officials before the conference of parties in December.

The Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Israel, Lior Haiat, said Belotserkovsky has been recalled for consultations.

“Following the latest South African statements, the ambassador of Israel to Pretoria has been recalled to Jerusalem for consultations,” said Haiat.

Ntshavheni said it would be an injustice if the ICC failed to act against Netanyahu.

She said the ICC has been sitting on the Palestine investigations for two years and no action has been taken.

The Africa4Palestine said it welcomed the decision by Israel to recall the ambassador.

“South Africa now has no ambassador in Israel and Israel has no ambassador in South Africa,” said Tisetso Magama of the Africa4Palestine.

“In the dying days of apartheid in South Africa, the regime isolated itself. Similarly, Israel today is being isolated and is self-isolating from the peace and justice-loving peoples of the world,” Magama said.

“This marks a crucial step towards holding apartheid Israel accountable for its violations of international law. People and countries across the globe are making it clear: no normal relations with an abnormal state.”

The South African Zionist Federation has accused the government of being hostile to Israel, which led to its decision to recall its ambassador.

National chairperson of the federation Rowan Polovin urged the government to tone down on its stance on Israel and said it should engage with Tel Aviv.

Polovin said this stance would make it difficult for South Africa to be part of establishing peace between Israel and Palestine.

He said the government has been one-sided on its approach to the conflict.

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