The South African Government Statement on Developments in Israel

On 3 June 2010, the South African Government decided to recall our Ambassador to Israel, Mr Ismail Coovadia, to South Africa for consultations. This followed the Israeli military attack on 31 May 2010, in international waters, on a Turkish ship attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, which resulted in the loss of 9 Turkish lives.

As was announced at the time, the recall of an Ambassador for consultations is a recognised instrument of diplomatic practice aimed at registering a country’s strongest protest at the actions of a state with which it maintains diplomatic relations.

Following extensive discussions and consultations with Amb Coovadia, the decision was taken by Government for Amb Coovadia to return to Tel Aviv to resume his duties there.

South Africa notes that the internal Committee set up to probe the Israeli attack has concluded its investigations and that although it admits that mistakes were made by the Israeli military, no further action was recommended. However, South Africa reiterates its call that any investigation should be a “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent” investigation, in line with UN recommendations and, as this action had international ramifications, be conducted by independent international investigators.

South Africa, however, continues to monitor developments in the region and to urge Israel to create a climate that is conducive to future negotiations between itself and the Palestinian Authorities in order to find a peaceful negotiated solution to the question of the establishment of a viable Palestinian State.
The Government also continues to call on the Israeli Government to lift its blockade of Gaza, which is causing untold suffering to thousands of innocent civilians.

The developments in the occupied Palestine Territories and Gaza continue to enjoy the scrutiny of Government and in this regard South Africa’s diplomatic Missions in Tel Aviv and Ramallah play a crucial role.

The South African Government again wishes to thank all those South Africans that have voiced their positions and opinions on the negative impact of the Israeli blockade of Gaza and the subsequent Israeli attack on the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla”. The Government continues to commit itself to doing whatever is possible to contribute towards finding peace in the region and the creation of an independent, viable Palestinian State, existing side by side in peace with Israel, within internationally recognised borders.

For more information, please contact the Chief Director for Public Diplomacy, Mr Saul Kgomotso Molobi on 082 940 1647, +27 12 351 0083 or e-mail him at

Issued by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation

OR Tambo Building
Soutpansberg Road
Pretoria, RSA

20 July 2010

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