Media Statement: South Africa calls in Israeli Ambassador in South Africa following Israeli Attacks on Aid Ships to Gaza

On 1 June 2010, South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation, Ms Sue van der Merwe, in the absence of Minister Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, who is on an official visit to France, summoned the Israeli Ambassador in South Africa, Mr Segev-Steinberg. The reason for the meeting was to issue a Démarche, registering the Governments strongest possible protest to the Israeli Government, for its unjustified military action and resultant loss of life inflicted by Israel on a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian relief supplies to Gaza.

Deputy Minister van der Merwe expressed the Governments deep regret at the loss of life and reiterated that this military attack against civilian activists is totally unacceptable and clearly a case of disproportionate use of force. She further stated that such a military attack was an aberration from acceptable behavior on the part of a State party in dealing with civilians and that Israel must be held accountable for its actions under international law.  In this regard, the South African Government also supported a full investigation into the matter which should be prompt, impartial, credible and transparent, as well as conforming to international standards.

The Government also requested the immediate release of the ships, as well as civilians held by Israel, including one South African citizen and for Israel to allow the countries concerned to retrieve their deceased and wounded and to ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance from the convoy to its destination.

For further information, feel free to contact Mr. Mahlatse Mminele on 082-8899-432 or 012-351-0279 or @ mmineleml@dirco.gov.za

Issued by The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO)
OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Building Rd
Rietondale
0084

01 June 2010

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