The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said it had taken note of the confusion caused by Tuesday’s ceremony in which Israeli ambassador presented his letters of credence to Pretoria, leading to questions of where its relations were with both Israel and Palestine.
“South Africa currently does not have an ambassador in Israel. South Africa decided to recall our ambassador in 2018 as part of processes to downgrade our diplomatic presence in Israel,” the ministry said in a statement.
However, according to the ministry, post-apartheid South Africa and Israel have maintained formal diplomatic ties to date.
“In part, a diplomatic presence with Israel has allowed South Africa to play a role with its international partners in the ongoing efforts to end the occupation of Palestine,” it said.
However, South Africa has been "consistent" and "unwavering" in its principled support in the struggle of the Palestinian people in their struggle against the Israeli occupation, the ministry said.
“Our country draws a direct parallel between the former apartheid regime and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land,” the ministry said.