IDF commandos raid Turkish ship (archives)
Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit

South Africa returns ambassador to Israel

Country's foreign ministry says Israeli army probe identified mistakes in deadly raid on Gaza-bound Turkish ship, but reiterates call for international investigation, lifting of blockade

South Africa is returning its ambassador to Israel, nearly seven weeks after recalling him in the wake of the deadly raid on a Turkish ship bound for the Gaza Strip, the government said Tuesday.


The foreign ministry in a statement noted that an Israeli army probe had identified mistakes in the raid on May 31, but said South Africa still wanted an international inquiry into the incident.


"South Africa reiterates its call that any investigation should be a 'prompt, impartial, credible and transparent', in line with UN recommendations," the statement said.


But the ministry said government had nonetheless decided to send ambassador Ismail Coovadia back to Tel Aviv, saying he plays a crucial role in monitoring developments in the region.


"Following extensive discussions and consultations... the decision was taken by government for ambassador Coovadia to return to Tel Aviv to resume his duties there."


"The South African 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 statement said.


Since the fall of the whites-only apartheid regime in 1994, South Africa has been an outspoken critic of Israel and infuriated the Jewish state with its willingness to meet members of the Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza. 


פרסום ראשון: 07.20.10, 15:33
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