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South Africa recalls diplomats from Israel over crimes in Gaza

South Africa has said it is recalling all of its diplomats from Tel Aviv in protest at Israel’s mass killing of civilians in the embattled Gaza Strip.

“The South African government has decided to withdraw all its diplomats in Tel Aviv for consultation. The recall for consultation is a serious signal that South Africa takes a very dim view of the situation that is permeating in that part of the world,” Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, minister in the Presidency, said at a media briefing.

Ntshavheni said South Africa is disappointed with Israel’s continued bombing of schools and hospitals in Gaza and the closure of humanitarian passages.

“A genocide under the watch of the international community cannot be tolerated,” Ntshavheni said.

“Cabinet has also noted the continuing disparaging remarks of the Israeli ambassador to South Africa about those who are opposing the atrocities and genocide of the Israeli government. The position of the Israeli ambassador to South Africa is becoming very untenable and Cabinet has decided to instruct the Department of International Relations and Cooperation to take the necessary measures within the diplomatic channels and protocols to deal with the conduct of the ambassador of Israel to South Africa,” Ntshavheni said.

South African foreign minister Naledi Pandor, for his part, told a news conference that his country was withdrawing its diplomats.

“We are… extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians in the Palestinian territories and we believe the nature of response by Israel has become one of collective punishment,” Pandor said

“We felt it important that we do signal the concern of South Africa while continuing to call for a comprehensive cessation [of hostilities],” he added.

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