South Africa said Monday that due to the death toll in Gaza, the country would recall its ambassador to Israel. On Tuesday it officially stated the ambassador would be leaving, his roles being fulfilled by the embassy’s consultant until the ambassador returns.
“The South Africa government condemns in the strongest terms possible the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said in a statement.
“Given the indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attack, the government has taken the decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice,” the statement went on to read.
“The victims were taking part in a peaceful protest against the provocative inauguration of the US Embassy in Jerusalem,” it said referring to the relocation of the American embassy which became official with a ceremony on Monday.
The South African government, which has long expressed support for the Palestinian cause, has for some time considered downgrading its representation to Israel.
Although condemnations of the deadly outcome of protests in Gaza has been widespread, South Africa was the first country to take concrete steps against Israel in its wake.
Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Bekir Bozdag meanwhile said it had recalled its ambassadors in Tel Aviv and Washington for consultations.