South Africa became the latest country to recall its ambassador to Israel, following the Monday raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla, resulting in nine fatalities and dozens of injuries.
Despite the decision, a South African foreign affairs official stressed they had no intention of expelling the Israeli ambassador or cutting diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
"In view of the recent attack on the flotilla ship carrying relief aid to Gaza, South Africa's Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation in consultation with the presidency has decided to recall its ambassador to Israel, Mr. Ismael Coovadia," said ministry official Malusi Mogale.
"We condemn this attack in the strongest terms. In our view, this derails the peace process in the region and by withdrawing our ambassador we would like to send a strong message of condemnation to the government of Israel," said Mogale.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry regretted the announcement, and issued a statement saying, "Those who criticize Israel would be better advised to turn their criticism against the terror-supporting rioters from the flotilla, who have nothing to do with humaneness."
Amid growing diplomatic tension, another African country has faced growing pressures to expel its Israeli ambassador. Several civil organizations in Senegal, including the Islamic Brotherhoods of Senegal, urged the government to "suspend diplomatic relations" with Jeruslem and boycott Israeli products following the IDF takeover of the flotilla.
"We must set an example, close the Israeli embassy in Dakar and expel the ambassador," read a statement signed by dozens of organizations in the West African country.