South Africa Recalls Israeli Ambassador

Published: June 3rd 2010
in News » World

South African flag.

On Thursday South Africa announced it would recall its Ambassador to Israel, citing the events that occurred aboard the Gaza-bound flotilla on May 31st.


Judika Tladi, spokesman for the South African embassy, told The Jerusalem Post that Ambassador Ismael Coovadia was being summoned back to Pretoria until the South African government gets further details and gains a "better understanding" of what happened off the Gaza coast.


Tladi noted, however, that Pretoria was not planning on severing its relationship with Israel. "This will not affect ties between the two countries. We have no intention of expelling the Israeli ambassador or cutting ties with Israel," Tladi told the Post.


This decision comes several days after Turkey, who sponsored the flotilla, recalled its own Israeli ambassador, Oguz Celikkol, who arrived back in Ankara on Thursday.


According to Tladi, Coovadia would be leaving Israel at some point this weekend.


South Africa’s deputy foreign minister, Ebrahim Ebrahim, said the move to recall the ambassador was meant to show the country's "condemnation of the [Israeli] attack on the flotilla."


Incidentally, a South African journalist from Cape Town was aboard the Mavi Marmara ship, which tried to break the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip. The journalist was not hurt, and is currently back in SA.


Israel expresses its disappointment at the South African government’s decision to withdraw its Israeli ambassador. 


"Those who criticize Israel would be better advised to turn their criticism against the terror-supporting rioters from the flotilla, who have nothing to do with humaneness," spokesman Yigal Palmor said in a statement.

Related articles: (South Africa, Turkey, ambassador, flotilla)

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