15 May 2018

Africa: South Africa Recalls Its Ambassador to Israel After Killing of Palestinian Protesters

Photo: Aurelie Baumel/Médecins Sans Frontières
A life lost - relatives leaving the hospital after the protests at the Gaza border fence

South Africa has recalled its ambassador to Israel to protest against Israeli armed forces killing over 40 "peaceful" Palestinian protesters in Gaza.

It was not clear on Monday evening if ambassador Sisa Ngombane would eventually return to Tel Aviv, since the ANC had in December already decided to downgrade South Africa's embassy to a liaison office.

Some South African officials expressed the hope that the recall of Ngombane would be the first concrete move towards the expected downgrade.

However, a Department of International Relations and Co-operation official pointed out that Ngombane had been recalled to Pretoria "until further notice". This raised the possibility that he might return.

The Jewish community in South Africa said the decision to recall Ngombane was "outrageous", because Israel had the right to defend its own border and its own citizens against Palestinians being incited by Hamas to storm the security fence and attack Israeli civilians.

The Palestinians killed on Monday were protesting against what the South African government...

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