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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist


Cabinet calls on Dirco to act against Israeli ambassador to SA

South African government will also recall all its diplomats from Israel.


Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni wants the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) to act against Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky.

Ntshaveni was briefing the media on decisions taken at a Cabinet meeting last week.

Removing Israeli ambassador

Cabinet has given its strongest indication that it might be deliberating the removal of Belotserkovsky with Ntshavheni describing his presence in the country as “untenable”.

“The disparaging remarks against those speaking up against the atrocities and the country’s leaders make ambassador Belotserkovsky’s position more and more untenable. As such, Cabinet has instructed Dirco to take necessary measures within the diplomatic challenges and protocols to deal with the conduct of the ambassador of Israel to South Africa.

“We leave it to Dirco to decide what will be done with the ambassador. He is a guest in our country and must conduct himself as a guest, and he has no right,” she said.

Ntshaveni said Cabinet was disappointed by the refusal of the Israeli government to respect international law and its continued undermining of the United Nations resolutions for the implementation of a ceasefire with impunity.

ALSO READ: ‘Situation in Gaza likely to get worse’ – analyst

Recalling SA diplomats

Ntshavheni also said the South African government would recall all its diplomats from Israel.

“Cabinet has decided to recall all South African diplomats from Tel Aviv for consultation.”

She described Israel as a perpetrator of another “holocaust”. 

“Cabinet has also noted with disquiet the continuing disparaging remarks of the Israeli’s ambassador to South Africa, Mr Eliav Belotserkovsky, against South Africans, the leadership of South Africa both in and outside government including civil society who are speaking against the holocaust being committed by the Israeli government against the Palestinians.

Nuclear weapons

Ntshavheni also lambasted the US government’s continued aid to Israel after the country retaliated against Hamas, who launched a surprise attack on 7 October leaving 1 400 people, mostly civilians dead according to Israeli officials.

She said the threat to use nuclear weapons on Gaza undermined international law and the global system.

“The humanitarian corridors remain closed due to the continued attacks of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli government, which increased the death toll to more than 9 500.

“The airstrikes in Gaza and the West Bank continue to attack schools ambulances and civilians. As previously communicated, a genocide under the watch of the international community cannot be tolerated. Another holocaust in the history of humankind cannot be acceptable. Israel is threatening the stability of the global system by its conduct against the Palestinian people,” Ntshaveni said.

Conflict

Israel’s military campaign in Gaza since October 7 has killed 9 488 people, most of them women and children, the Hamas-run health ministry said.

Meanwhile, an Israeli minister was suspended from government meetings “until further notice” on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said. This after suggesting in an interview dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza.

The comments were made by Heritage Minister Amichay Eliyahu.

When the interviewer asked whether the Israeli minister advocated dropping “some kind of atomic bomb” on the Gaza Strip “to kill everyone”, Eliyahu replied: “That’s one option.”

ALSO READ: Dirco calls on Israel to cease ‘genocidal campaign against Palestinians’

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Gaza Hamas Israel Khumbudzo Ntshavheni Palestine

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