Sisulu calls on Jewish community to speak out against Gaza deaths

South Africa on Monday recalled its ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, with immediate effect.

International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu seen during a media briefing on 15 May 2018. Picture: @DIRCO_ZA/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - International Relations Minister Lindiwe Sisulu says that she wants South Africa’s Jewish community to add its voice to condemnation of the Israeli defence force's action on the Gaza Strip.

Sisulu’s condemned the high death toll and the more than 2,700 injuries suffered by Palestinian protesters as “unacceptable” and a “disaster”.

South Africa on Monday recalled its ambassador to Israel, Sisa Ngombane, with immediate effect.

Sisulu was briefing reporters at Parliament ahead of her budget vote speech on Tuesday afternoon.

Number of Palestinians killed along the border of the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces since the 'Great March of Return' protest began on 30 March 2018.

Sisulu says she spoke to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking if the establishment and inauguration of the embassy in east Jerusalem could be delayed but was told it was too late for that.

The minister says she now wants to reach out to South Africa’s Jewish community.

“We would now want to sit down with them and explain to them that 55 people died and that 2,700 people being wounded is unacceptable. We would like them to join us in condemning this. We would like them to join us in finding a lasting solution for the people of Palestine.”

Sisulu says more protests are expected from Tuesday. It marks the 70 year anniversary of ‘Nakba,’ or the Day of Catastrophe, when Israel forcefully occupied Palestinian territory in 1948.

The ANC’s parliamentary caucus has also condemned the killings and injuries. It’s calling for a cessation of hostilities and a return to “truthful and honest negotiations” on the part of Israel for a two-state solution in the region.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)