South Africa will recall its ambassador to Israel following a deadly attack on a vessel attempting to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza, Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Thursday.
However, government had no intention of expelling the Israeli ambassador to South Africa or of cutting diplomatic ties with that community.
"The recall of ambassador Ishmael Coovadia is to show our strongest condemnation of the attack. This recent Israel aggression of attacking the aid flotilla severely impacts on finding a lasting solution to the problems of the region," Ebrahim told journalists in Pretoria.
Nine people were killed during Monday's raid in international waters.
South Africa had already added its voice to the increasing international condemnation of Israel's actions and had since summoned the Israeli ambassador to a meeting.
"The SA government also joins the international community in its call for the siege of Gaza to be immediately lifted," said Ebrahim adding that the siege had brought "untold hardships" to the ordinary people of Gaza.
"It has made their lives nightmarish."
Ebrahim said that government welcomed the decision by Egypt to open the Rafa border crossing between it and Palestinian-controlled Rafah. - Sapa