CAPE TOWN – Cabinet has directed the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) to take action against Israel’s ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, but has stopped short of ordering his expulsion.


Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, Minister in the Presidency, stated on Monday that the Cabinet views Israeli attacks on Gaza as genocide and that Belotserkovsky’s position in South Africa is becoming untenable.

Ntshavheni was providing a briefing on decisions taken at a Cabinet meeting last week.

The government also plans to withdraw its own diplomats from Tel Aviv amid the tensions in the Middle East.

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Cabinet said that support from the United States for Israel to continually attack Gaza and the West Bank, and to threaten the use of nuclear weapons undermined international law and the global system.

“A genocide under the watch of the international community cannot be tolerated. Another holocaust in the history of humankind is unacceptable,” Ntshavheni said.

Ntshavheni said it also made a peaceful solution to the conflict impossible.

She said Cabinet instructed the Minister of International Relations, Naledi Pandor, to act against Belotserkovsky.

“We leave it to DIRCO – they are the experts of what should be done to the ambassador. Our responsibility as Cabinet is to instruct them to say the conduct and the remarks of that ambassador are unacceptable.”

The cabinet will also be leaving it up to DIRCO to decide when and for how long to withdraw the country’s diplomats from Israel.