(JTA) — Turkey recalled its ambassadors to the United States and Israel after at least 50 Palestinian protesters were reportedly killed at the Gaza border.
South Africa also recalled its envoy to Israel earlier on Monday, Agence France-Presse reported.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of “genocide” over the killings in Gaza. Tens of thousands gathered of Palestinians gathered there for protests in the hours before the dedication of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem earlier today. Over 2,400 were injured.
The Israel Defense Forces said that it is “operating according to standard operating procedures” and claimed that several protesters were planting explosives. Some flew flaming kites across the border, and at least one started a wildfire, according to The New York Times.
Erdogan called Israel a terrorist state in December.
South Africa also announced its ambassador will leave Israel “until further notice.”
“Given the indiscriminate and grave manner of the latest Israeli attack‚ the South African government has decided taken a decision to recall Ambassador Sisa Ngombane with immediate effect until further notice‚” read a statement from the country’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
The protests are part of the March of Return, a longstanding demonstration that has taken place every Friday at the border for the last seven weeks. The protests were supposed to end on May 14, the day on the Gregorian calendar when Israel became an independent state 70 years ago. The Arab world calls this event the Nakba, or “catastrophe.” Hamas leaders have called for the protests to continue beyond Monday.
“The IDF is prepared for a variety of scenarios. IDF commanders are present in the field and are conducting situation assessments. The IDF will act forcefully against any terrorist activity and will operate to prevent attacks against Israelis,” the military said in a statement that also appeared on Twitter.
“The IDF will act harshly against any terrorist activity and will act to preserve Israeli sovereignty and prevent attacks on civilians and soldiers,” the statement said.