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The move to recall Belotserkovsky comes after he was démarched by government over his remarks about the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry has recalled its ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, for consultations following what it referred to as the “latest statements from South Africa”.

“The Israeli government has recalled Ambassador Eliav Belotserkovsky “for consultations” following the “latest statements from South Africa”, Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Haiat said on Monday in a post on X.

Démarche

The move to recall Belotserkovsky comes after he was démarched by government over his remarks about the Israel-Palestine conflict which has seen the death toll soaring in Gaza.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said it demarched Belotserkovsky to discuss his recent “unfortunate” conduct.

“Ambassador Belotserkovsky is called upon to conduct himself in line with the Vienna Conventions, which accord heads of diplomatic missions certain privileges and responsibilities, key among which is to recognise the sovereign decisions of the host nation.”

Haiat  did not specify the statements, but the South African government and the African National Congress (ANC)  have been growing increasingly critical of Israel as the country continues to pummel Gaza.

ALSO READ: ‘We expect warrants for Israeli leaders and Benjamin Netanyahu shortly’ – Ntshavheni

Parliament is also expected to vote on an Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) motion calling on  “the government to close the Israeli Embassy in South Africa and suspend all diplomatic relations with Israel”.

On Monday, Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said government is expecting the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue a warrant of arrest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu soon.

Vusi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador in the Hague, Netherlands, personally delivered the referral to the office of the prosecutor (OTP) at the ICC.

Reactions

Pro-Palestine group Africa4Palestine welcomed the decision to recall Belotserkovsky ahead of the vote in Parliament.

“The Israeli ambassador has fled South Africa ahead of this week’s vote by the Parliament of South Africa to expel the Israeli ambassador and shutdown the Israeli embassy.

“South Africa now has no ambassador in Israel, and Israel has no ambassador in South Africa,” it said.

The South African Zionist Federation (SAZF) condemned “South Africa’s increasingly antagonistic and discriminatory position against the world’s only Jewish State” which it said had led to Israel’s decision to recall Belotserkovsky.

“The ANC’s prejudicial posturing on this conflict will have profound implications for our country, as well as Jewish and Christian South Africans and others with religious and spiritual ties to Israel,” it said.

South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) national chairperson Professor Karen Milner hoped Belotserkovsky would return.

“It is a great pity that the situation in SA has deteriorated to the degree that Israel decided to recall the ambassador to Jerusalem for consultation. We trust that this recall, as well as the recall of the SA embassy staff in Israel, will be temporary and that the two countries will resume dialogue and engagement soon”

Over the past 40 days, Israeli forces have killed over 12 000 people in Gaza, including more than 5 000 children with an additional 1 800 children missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings, most of them presumed dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

ALSO READ: WATCH: ‘Israel systematically attacking healthcare in Palestine,’ says Al Shifa doctor

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