South Africa won't reinstate Israel ambassador for now

Nearly two months after withdrawing its ambassador to Israel over Gaza violence, South Africa not ready to reinstate him.

Tags: South Africa
Elad Benari ,

BDS South Africa demonstration at Israeli embassy
BDS South Africa demonstration at Israeli embassy

The South African government has said it will not reinstate its ambassador to Israel for the time being.

South Africa withdrew its ambassador to Israel in May in protest against the deadly violence along the Israel-Gaza border.

At the time, it called on the IDF to “withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories.”

The statement came after the Hamas terrorist organization led violent and mass terrorist acts in protest against the inauguration of the new United States embassy in Jerusalem. Hamas later openly admitted that most of those who were killed in those violent riots were members of the group.

According to the SABC News website, Jewish lobby groups in South Africa have denounced the move to recall the country’s ambassador to Israel as “outrageous” and have urged the government to reinstate the envoy.

However, according to the report International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu reiterated the government stance not to reinstate its ambassador at this time.

“I’m very glad that I recalled the ambassador, because we could have not been in the situation that we are at now. It’s been a violation that has been going on for a long time, and we can’t be looking away. We are holding back on our ambassador until we are certain that we are making headway. For us this is an unacceptable situation, completely unacceptable,” said Sisulu.

Anti-Israel sentiments remain prevalent in South Africa, where the ruling the African National Congress (ANC) party recently called for the downgrading of the South African Embassy in Israel due to what it said was the “lack of commitment from Israel on Palestine.”

The government in South Africa has frequently accused Israel of applying a policy of “apartheid” towards Palestinian Arabs. One such example was when the ANC party proposed new rules regarding dual citizenship meant to stop South African citizens from joining the IDF.

In another example, the county’s Foreign Minister slammed Israel's plans to build new homes in Jerusalem, saying she was “losing sleep” over the size of “Palestine”.

Several months ago, South Africa's Sports Minister boycotted a Davis Cup tennis match against Israel, citing "Israeli discrimination and occupation.".