The South African government has decided to withdraw all its diplomats from Tel Aviv in Israel “for consultation” amid the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
“A genocide under the international community’s watch cannot be tolerated. Another massacre in the history of mankind is unacceptable,” Ntshavheni Khumbudzo, the minister in the presidency, said on Monday.
Khumbudzo gave feedback on the most recent cabinet meeting during a media conference.
According to Khumbudzo, the cabinet took note of Eliav Belotserkovsky, Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, “disparaging comments” about “those who are opposed to the atrocities and genocide of the Israeli government”.
Ntshavheni said this was despite previous Israeli ambassadors in South Africa condemning the conflict. These ambassadors were of the opinion that the Israeli government’s occupation of the Gaza Strip is a repetition of apartheid.
The cabinet instructed the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) to take action against Belotserkovsky.
It is not known at this stage how action will be taken against the ambassador.
The minister did say that Belotserkovsky’s position regarding the conflict was “untenable”.
“Our responsibility is to instruct them to say ‘the behavior and comments of the ambassador are unacceptable’. He is a guest in our country. He must behave like a guest in our country,” said Khumbudzo.