Supporters of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) and various political parties, including civil society groups, gather in solidarity with the Palestinian people in front of the Israeli embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, on October 20, 2023. REUTERS/Siphiwe sibeko/file photo
Ahead of Tuesday’s parliamentary vote in the African country that will determine the future of the Israeli embassy, Israel summoned its ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, back to Jerusalem “for consultations.”
Tensions related to the Israeli war on Gaza have recently increased in diplomatic relations between the two nations. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa previously said his country believed Israel was killing thousands of Palestinians in Gaza and committing war crimes and genocide there.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry said Monday evening on X, formerly known as Twitter, that “Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria has been recalled to Jerusalem for consultations following the latest South African statements.”
This came before a motion to close the Israeli embassy and sever all connections with Israel until a ceasefire is put into effect in Gaza was put to a vote in the southern parliament -African.
The ruling African National Congress, along with some other minor parties, supports the motion presented by the left-wing opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters.
South Africa said last week it had asked the International Criminal Court to investigate what it considers Israel’s “genocide” in Gaza. On Monday, the country’s cabinet asked the Latest to issue an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“As much of the global community witnesses the commission of these crimes in real time, including declarations of genocidal intent by many Israeli leaders, we expect arrest warrants against these leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, will be issued shortly. » South African Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, told reporters on Monday.
Earlier this month, South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel and withdrew all diplomatic staff from the country.
The conflict will also be the subject of a virtual meeting of BRICS countries on Tuesday, attended by the bloc’s leaders including Ramaphosa, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The economic bloc was formed by Brazil, Russia, India and China in 2009 and added South Africa in 2010. Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Egypt and Ethiopia are also expected to join BRICS.
The war between Israel and Hamas erupted after the Palestinian militant group’s surprise attacks on Israel on October 7, which killed around 1,200 people. Israel’s retaliatory strikes on Gaza have so far killed more than 12,700 people, according to Palestinian health authorities.
(with contribution from agencies)