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 KushnerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? Rule change sharpens Dem investigations into Trump Drama hits Senate Intel panel’s Russia inquiry MORE and Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump dismisses Ann Coulter after criticism: 'I hardly know her' On The Money: Trump to sign border deal, declare emergency to build wall | Senate passes funding bill, House to follow | Dems promise challenge to emergency declaration The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine - Will there be any last-minute shutdown drama? 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.