During a press briefing, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, a minister in the president’s office, conveyed that SA will recall diplomats from Israel to Pretoria for consultations, though specific details were not provided.
During a subsequent press conference, Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor expressed her perspective, stating, “We are…extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians in the Palestinian territories, and we believe the nature of the response by Israel has become one of collective punishment.”
She added, “We felt it important that we do signal the concern of South Africa while continuing to call for a comprehensive cessation of the ongoing crisis.”
The Gaza Strip conflict has been ongoing for approximately a month. It originated from an attack by Hamas militants across the border from Gaza into Israel on October 7, 2023. 1,400 people have died in Israel, primarily civilians. During this time, Hamas also took over 240 people hostage.
Israel hit back with air and ground operations in Gaza. The health ministry in the Hamas-administered Palestinian territory said that 9,700 people have died as a result, most of them civilians.
Since 1994, South Africa has supported the Palestinian cause. The ANC has frequently drawn parallels between the struggle against apartheid and the situation in Palestine.
Minister Pandor clarified that recalling diplomats is a “normal practice.” The envoys will provide a comprehensive briefing on the situation to the government, which will then deliberate on whether to offer assistance or consider the viability of maintaining an ongoing diplomatic relationship.
Picture: X / GovernmentZASouth African Government Recalls All Diplomats from Israel
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