South Africa: 'We believe nature of Israel's response has become one of collective punishment'
South Africa is recalling diplomats from Israel to assess its relationship with the country, its foreign minister has said, saying that Israel was involved in the “collective punishment” of Palestinians.
Calling the return of diplomats a “normal practice”, Naledi Pandor said the recall was to determine “whether there is any potential for you to be of assistance and whether the continued relationship is actually able to be sustained in all terms.”
The country is “extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians” in the Palestinian territory, Reuters reports the foreign minister said.
“We believe the nature of response by Israel has become one of collective punishment,” she said, adding the country would continue to call for a comprehensive ceasefire in Palestine.
South Africa does not have an ambassador in Israel.
During the Cairo Peace Summit last month, president Cyril Ramaphosa called on countries to not supply weapons to either side of the conflict while its foreign ministry has previously urged the UN to deploy forces to protect civilians in Gaza.
Turkey, Jordan, Bolivia, Honduras, Colombia, Chile and Bahrain have all also reduced diplomatic contact with Israel since 7 October.