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South Africa and Chad recall diplomats from Israel

<i>Amir Cohen/Reuters</i><br/>The South African government has been strongly worded in its condemnation of Israel’s military operation in recent weeks. In this image
Amir Cohen/Reuters
The South African government has been strongly worded in its condemnation of Israel’s military operation in recent weeks. In this image

By David McKenzie, Sarah Dean, Joseph Ataman and Maya Szaniecki, CNN

Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) — South Africa and Chad have announced they will recall diplomats from Israel for “consultation” in response to the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“The South African government has decided to withdraw all of its diplomats in Tel Aviv for consultation,” Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said on Monday in a news conference to announce the outcome of a cabinet meeting held November 1.

The South African government told CNN that the country has three diplomats in Israel to be recalled.

“Cabinet has also noted the continuing disparaging remarks of the Israeli ambassador to South Africa about those who are opposing the atrocities and the genocide of the Israeli government,” Ntshavheni said in the briefing, adding that the ambassador’s role “is becoming very untenable.”

“A genocide under the watch of the international community cannot be tolerated,” Ntshavheni said.

Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, has been a regular presence in South African media, including the public broadcaster, in recent weeks.

In March, South Africa’s parliament passed a resolution to downgrade its ties with Israel.

The South African government has been strongly worded in its condemnation of Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

In a media statement on November 4, its foreign ministry said “it is a war crime for Israel to directly target Palestinian civilians in hospitals, ambulances, schools, apartment buildings, and in their private cars.” The ministry reiterated South Africa’s call for an “immediate ceasefire.”

Meanwhile, Chad recalled the country’s chargé d’affaires to Israel on November 4 in reaction to the conflict in Gaza, according to a statement from the government spokesperson posted on Facebook by the Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

A post on the Chadian presidency website Monday said that the decision to recall the senior diplomat for consultations was taken in “indignation” at the ongoing conflict.

“Chad condemns the loss of human lives of many innocent civilians and calls for a ceasefire leading to a lasting solution to the Palestinian question,” the government spokesperson’s statement said regarding the conflict.

South Africa and Chad are not the only nations to call their diplomats back from Israel since the Gaza conflict began.

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Israel for “consultations” due to the “unfolding humanitarian tragedy in Gaza” and continuing Israeli airstrikes, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement Saturday. Several other countries, including Honduras, Colombia, Chile, Jordan and Bahrain, have also withdrawn their ambassadors.

Last week, Bolivia said it was cutting diplomatic relations with Israel, citing “crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinian people” in the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas.

CNN’s David McKenzie and Sarah Dean reported from South Africa and Joseph Ataman and Maya Szaniecki from Paris.

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