In a significant diplomatic move, Israel has recalled its ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, just days before a crucial parliamentary vote that will determine the fate of the Israeli Embassy in the African nation. The recall comes amidst escalating tensions between the two countries, primarily fueled by Israel’s military actions in Gaza.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has openly accused Israel of committing war crimes and genocide in Gaza, a sentiment that has resonated with the South African government. In response to what it perceives as inflammatory remarks and accusations, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the recall of its ambassador, stating that Ambassador Belotserkovsky would be returning to Jerusalem for consultations.
The focal point of the dispute lies in an upcoming parliamentary vote that will decide whether to close the Israeli Embassy in South Africa and sever all diplomatic ties with Israel until a ceasefire is established in Gaza. The motion, spearheaded by the leftist Economic Freedom Fighters and supported by the ruling African National Congress and other smaller parties, reflects South Africa’s condemnation of Israel’s actions.
In an additional measure, South Africa has taken the matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC), labeling Israel’s actions in Gaza as “genocide.” The South African Cabinet has urged the ICC to initiate an investigation and issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. This latest development underscores the depth of the diplomatic rift and the gravity of the accusations, setting the stage for a potentially significant shift in the relationship between these two nations.