Photo by Deaan Vivier/Beeld/Gallo Images via Getty Images.
South Africa and Chad Recall Diplomats from Israel in Response to the Ongoing Siege of Gaza
The African countries join a growing number of world leaders who’ve condemned Israel’s military operations in Gaza.
The South African government has joined Chad in recalling its diplomatic envoy stationed in Israel over the country's actions in Gaza. The country, which passed a resolution to downgrade its ties with Israel in March, withdrew its ambassador and two diplomatic mission staff for “consultation,” confirming the move during a press conference in Pretoria on Monday.
After a cabinet meeting was held last week, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni relayed the decision that was taken: “The South African government has decided to withdraw all its diplomats in Tel Aviv for consultation," she said.
Ntshavheni also expressed concern over the conduct of the Israeli ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotsercovsky, in the form of “continuing disparaging remarks about those who are opposing the atrocities and the genocide of the Israeli government.” Ntshavheni went on to assert that the ambassador's role has become "very untenable," emphasizing that "a genocide under the watch of the international community cannot be tolerated." South Africa has since set in motion plans to issue a demarche, which is a formal reprimand, to Belotsercovsky.
During an address to the National Assembly on November 7th, South Africa's International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor reiterated the call for a ceasefire in Gaza. On the day that marked one month since Hamas militants launched a deadly attack on the Gaza border, which Israel reports resulted in the deaths of more than 1,400 Israeli people and the taking of more than 240 hostages, she vocalized the country’s stance: “We are... extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians in the Palestinian territories,” adding that it believes “the nature of response by Israel has become one of collective punishment.” The health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory says close to 10,000 people, many of them children, have been killed since.
Pandor strongly condemned the violence, especially the high number of civilian casualties, and emphasized the need for an immediate ceasefire. While South Africa has long been a vocal supporter of Palestine, from the days of former president Nelson Mandela linking its cause for freedom to the struggle against apartheid, she also addressed accusations of alleged bias in favor of Hamas. "It is untrue that South Africa has not criticized Hamas or its breach of international human rights law,” she said, underscoring the importance of accuracy in all international contributions.
Late last week, Chad recalled its chargé d’affaires to Israel on November 4th, denouncing the “loss of life of many innocent citizens in Gaza,” in a statement posted by the Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on social media. Chad also called for a ceasefire “that will lead to a stable solution for the Palestinian question.”
Chad and South Africa follow in the footsteps of Turkey, Honduras, Chile, Colombia and Jordan as countries that have recalled their top diplomats from Israel as global criticism of the ground invasion and contining bombing of Gaza grows.
In addition to the diplomatic measures taken by South Africa and Chad, there have also been international calls for accountability. Pandor has urged the International Criminal Court to hold Israel accountable for violations of international criminal law resulting from its ground offensive and airstrikes in Gaza. She stated, "The murder of children, women, and the aged by Israel is an act that should have resulted in the International Criminal Court issuing an immediate arrest warrant for key decision makers, including Mr. Netanyahu."
As the situation in the region continues to evolve, international diplomatic response and accountability for actions during the Israel-Hamas conflict remain pressing issues.
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