South Africa has withdrawn its ambassador to Israel following a deadly attack by the Israeli armed forces along the Gaza border in which 52 people were killed.
"Given the indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attack, the South African government has taken a decision to recall ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice," the international relations department said in a statement on Monday.
AFP described the clashes as the "bloodiest day in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" since the 2014 Gaza war. It reported that 52 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during protests which coincided with the controversial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem.
The news agency said more than 2,400 Palestinians were wounded ahead of the opening of the embassy, which was presided over by a White House delegation and Israeli officials.
The SA government condemned the violent aggression by the Israeli armed forces.
South Africa was disturbed by the "latest deadly aggression" and echoed calls by several member states of the UN for an independent inquiry into the killings to hold those responsible to account.
"As we have stated on previous occasions, South Africa reiterates its view that the Israeli Defence Force must withdraw from the Gaza Strip and bring to an end the violent and destructive incursions into Palestinian territories. South Africa maintains further that the violence in the Gaza Strip will stand in the way of rebuilding Palestinian institutions and infrastructure," the statement read.
It added that the routine actions by the Israeli armed forces was an obstacle to finding a lastin solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — which it believed should be two states, Palestine and Israel, existing peacefully side-by-side.