South Africa recalls ambassador over Israeli raid of Gaza flotilla
South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel in a sharp rebuke over the Israeli raid of a Gaza flotilla this week as the fallout continue to spread over the raid, which left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead.
South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel on Thursday in the latest of a mounting cascade of diplomatic rebukes to Israel over its killing of nine pro-Palestinian activists aboard a ship seeking to bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.Skip to next paragraph
Israel's Gaza flotilla raid in international waters Monday has damaged Israel's international standing. Britain sharply criticized the raid, close Middle Eastern ally Turkey threatened to cut ties if Israel doesn't mend its ways, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate end to Israel's blockade of Gaza, which he said "punishes innocent civilians." Turkey and Ecuador have also recalled their ambassadors.
South Africa has now joined that chorus. An official at the Ministry for International Affairs said that South Africa would call back Ambassador Ishmael Coovadia “for consultations,” a statement of protest just one step short of a full breakdown in diplomatic relations.
“As of today, Ebrahim Ebrahim indicated the government has decided to recall its ambassador for consultations,” said Mahlatse Mminele, spokesman for the Ministry of International Affairs. "It is the strongest possible form of protest.”
South Africa also delivered a stern demarche to Israeli Ambassador Dov Sergev-Steinberg. A demarche is the diplomatic equivalent of calling a student to the principal’s office, and a statement by South Africa’s Ministry of International Relations said that South Africa expressed outrage over what it called Israel’s “unjustified military action and resultant loss of life inflicted by Israel on a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian relief supplies to Gaza.”