South Africa recalls ambassador to Israel over deaths on Gaza border

South Africa recalls ambassador to Israel over deaths on Gaza border
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South Africa announced on Monday it was recalling its ambassador to Israel after at least 52 Palestinians were killed along the Gaza border.

“Given the indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice,” South Africa's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The South African government said that the victims were taking part in a “peaceful protest against the provocative inauguration of the US embassy in Jerusalem” and condemned “the latest act of violent aggression carried out by Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border.”

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In the statement, the South African government said it wants the Israeli Defense Force to pull out of the Gaza Strip and end its “violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories.”

The protests at the Gaza Strip were triggered by the opening of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, which was inaugurated on Monday with White House advisers Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHouse panel signals Russia probe document dump before midterms Mueller investigating Russian payments made by Trump Tower meeting organizers: report The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpHard choices in training Americans for AI workplace of future Ex-Trump, progressive strategists battle over charges of anti-Semitism surrounding Eric Trump Ethics watchdog requests probe into Trump officials traveling to campaign events MORE, as well as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in attendance. The protests also come on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence.

The White House blamed Hamas for the violence.

“Hamas is intentionally and cynically provoking this response and as the secretary of State said, Israel has a right to defend itself,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said on Monday.

South Africa also noted in its statement that the actions by the Israeli armed forces are an obstacle to a peaceful solution, which they said must come in the form of two states.