Israel Recalls Ambassador Ahead of S. African Vote to Shut Down Israeli Embassy

Johannesburg (AP) —
Pro-Palestinian supporters demonstrate at the entrance to the Israeli Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, Oct. 20. (AP Photo/Denis Farrell, File)

Israel has recalled its ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, “for consultations” ahead of a parliamentary vote in the African country to decide the fate of the Israeli Embassy on Tuesday.

The two countries’ diplomatic relations have recently witnessed a rise in tensions over the Israeli war on Gaza. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa previously said his country believes Israel is committing war crimes and genocide in Gaza.

“Following the latest South African statements, the Ambassador of Israel to Pretoria has been recalled to Jerusalem for consultations,” Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs posted late Monday on social media.

This came ahead of a vote in South Africa’s Parliament on a motion to shut down the Israeli Embassy and cut all ties with Israel until a ceasefire is implemented in Gaza.

The motion tabled by the leftist opposition party Economic Freedom Fighters has the backing of the ruling African National Congress and other smaller parties.

Earlier this month, South Africa recalled its ambassador to Israel and withdrew all its diplomatic staff from the country.

The conflict will also be the subject of a virtual meeting of BRICS countries on Tuesday, which will be attended by leaders of the bloc, 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, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina, Egypt, and Ethiopia are also set to enter BRICS.

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