Israel-Hamas war: Why Africa is so deeply divided over Israel and Palestine: In January this year, Mandla Mandela took a bold stance when he called for the freedom of #Palestine and #WesternSahara at the opening ceremony of the under-17 African Nations Championship in #Algeria.
Speaking at the newly built Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers, Mandla was met with contempt from #Morocco, which controls about 80% of Western Sahara and has pushed for its authority over the territory to be officially recognised.
Morocco happens to be one of the African countries that support Israel in one of the world’s longest-continuing wars, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
In recent history, Morocco’s claim to Western Sahara was recognised by the #US in 2020 under then-president Donald Trump.
The US’ support was a trade-off for Morocco’s recognition of #Israel.
That means Algeria and Morocco are on different sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a statement in response to the recent attacks, Algeria condemned the “brutal Israeli attack on #Gaza“, which resulted in “innocent sons and daughters of the Palestinian people who fell as martyrs under the persistence of Israeli occupation”.
For its part, #Tunisia said: “It is the right of the Palestinians to take back all Palestinian land.”
#AfricanUnionCommission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat at the weekend found himself in a tight spot when he issued a statement that the #AU “calls on the international community, and the major #world powers in particular, to assume their responsibilities to impose #peace and guarantee the rights of the two peoples” in Israel and Palestine.
Why Africa is divided over the Israel-Palestine issue
Before the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was renamed the African Union in 2002, Israel enjoyed observer status in the continental bloc.
The main fight at the AU over Israel is between most of the League of Arab States (excluding Algeria and Tunisia) and most of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
Israel failed in 2013 and 2016 to be granted observer status because the AU demanded an “end to the Israeli occupation that started in 1967, [and] the independence of the state of Palestine on boundaries of 4 June 1967, with East #Jerusalem as its capital”.
In July 2021, Israel once again showed interest in being an observer nation to the AU.
This attempt didn’t go well with 21 of the AU’s 55 states.
South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe were opposed to the readmission of Israel – a strong stance considering that they have bilateral relations with Israel.
Latest reports say the intense bombardment has so far displaced more than 120 000 people in the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Elsewhere on the continent, Kenya is in support of Israel.
President William Ruto said in a statement: “Kenya strongly maintains that there exists no justification whatsoever for terrorism which constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security.
“All acts of terrorism and violent extremism are abhorrent, criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of the perpetrator or their motivations.”
The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Félix Tshisekedi said he was in solidarity with Israel and said the two countries remained “united to fight terrorism in all its forms”.
Source Credit: news24