Israel has recalled its ambassador in South Africa for which the foreign ministry says is for consultation purposes.
The Foreign Ministry spokesperson in Israel, Lior Haiat has said it “following the latest South African statements”.
“Following the latest South African statements, the ambassador of Israel to Pretoria has been recalled to Jerusalem for consultations,” said Haiat on X.
South Africa has been highly critical of Israel’s military operation in Gaza.
On Monday it urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by mid-December.
The recall of Israeli Ambassador Eliav Belotserkovsky comes just before South Africa is due to host a virtual summit of the Brics group of nations, which includes China and Russia, on the Israel-Hamas war.
The meeting which will be chaired by the South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is confident to draw up a common response to the conflict.
Also on Tuesday, 21 November, South Africa’s parliament is expected to vote on whether to close the Israeli embassy and suspend all diplomatic relations until Israel agrees to a cease-fire and commits to negotiations facilitated by the UN.
Israel launched a major military campaign in Gaza in response to a cross-border attack by hundreds of Hamas gunmen on 7 October, in which at least 1,200 people were killed and about 240 others taken hostage.
Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry says at least 13,000 people have been killed in the territory since Israel launched its retaliatory campaign.
The UN Security Council has called for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses” for “a sufficient number of days” to allow UN agencies to safely enter the sealed-off territory.
South Africa, which has long been a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause, has been critical of the nature of Israel’s response which it has described as “collective punishment”.
Israel has started in countless times that it is acting in self-defence and its aim is to eliminate Hamas and prevent another attack like the one last month happen again.
According to reports, South Africa, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Comoros and Djibouti, have submitted a referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate whether war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in Gaza.
South Africa has recalled its diplomats from Israel. There has been no South African ambassador in Israel for five years.