On Monday, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced the recall of Israeli Ambassador to South Africa Eli Belotserkovsky for consultations in Yerushalayim. This decision follows a series of accusations against Israel, with President Cyril Ramaphosa and other officials accusing Israel of committing genocide in the Gaza Strip.
President Ramaphosa declared that South Africa had approached the International Criminal Court in The Hague, calling for an investigation into alleged “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed by Israel during the conflict. Despite ongoing investigations, including into Hamas’ actions in the October 7 terror attack, Ramaphosa described Gaza as a “concentration camp.” While not explicitly condemning Hamas’ actions and the kidnapping of Israelis to Gaza, he criticized Israel’s response, characterizing it as a war crime involving airstrikes resulting in Gazan casualties.
Israeli officials expressed strong dissatisfaction with the statements, and a diplomatic source emphasized that recalling the ambassador for consultations conveys a message to South Africa that it has crossed boundaries. However, this move might be a preemptive measure, considering Pretoria’s contemplation of removing the Israeli ambassador.
The ruling ANC party in South Africa recently announced its support for a parliamentary initiative advocating the closure of the South African embassy in Tel Aviv and the severance of all ties with Israel. South Africa, a consistent supporter of the Palestinians, often criticizes Israel and draws parallels between the Palestinian struggle and its historic fight against apartheid. In 2018, South Africa recalled its ambassador from Israel, and last week, in protest against the Gaza attacks, it withdrew all diplomats from Israel, signaling a review of diplomatic relations with the country.