South Africa is recalling all of its diplomatic staff to Pretoria in protest over Israel’s handling of the war in Gaza against Hamas.
Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, a minister in the South African President’s Office, told a press briefing that the diplomatic staff in Tel Aviv will head back to the country for consultations, AFP reported on Monday.
“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,” Foreign Minister Naledi 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].”
Israel has consistently stated that its war is with Hamas, not Gazan civilians, and has demonstrated how Hamas commits war crimes by using human shields. Israel maintains that it acts within international law and does everything possible to avoid civilian casualties.
Pandor spoke by phone with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh on Oct. 17, less than two weeks after the Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel when thousands of terrorists stormed the border and murdered 1,400 persons, wounded more than 5,000 others and took as many as 240 hostages back to Gaza.