War in Palestine Divides African Governments – REPORT

A pro-Palestinian protest in South Africa. (Photo: Africa4Palestine, Supplied)

By Hasina Kathrada

South Africa has consistently been a vocal advocate for the Palestinian cause. However, not all African governments feel the same way.

South African Foreign Minister, Naledi Pandor, has recently reaffirmed the nation’s unwavering support for Palestine’s quest for self-determination and an end to Israeli occupation during a virtual meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council. 

Pandor also criticized Israel’s annexation of Palestinian territories and called for global solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

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South Africa’s resolute stance reflects a lengthy history of solidarity with the Palestinian people. 

Following the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Flood operation, on October 7, and the Israeli military aggression on besieged Gaza, South African civil society showed its support for the people of Palestine.

Hundreds of people turned out for solidarity events in the major cities of Durban, Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg this week.

Other Positions 

Other African nations have also articulated their positions regarding the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation. While some showed support for Palestine, others sought a more ‘balanced’ position, while others supported the Israeli War. 

Algeria: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Algeria vehemently condemned the Israeli bombing of Gaza, urging international intervention and expressing sympathy for the Palestinians fighting against “Israeli colonial settlement.”

Egypt: As a neighbor to both Israel and Palestine, Egypt implored restraint from both parties and called on the international community to pressure Israel to halt its attacks and adhere to international humanitarian law.

Kenya: A key Western ally, Kenya issued a strong statement in support of Israel. President William Ruto called for international action against those he deemed involved in “criminal acts of terrorism.” However, this stance divided public opinion within the country, with some expressing support for Palestine.

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Nigeria: Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, advocated for de-escalation and prioritizing the safety of civilians and humanitarian considerations.

Morocco: Morocco expressed deep concern about the situation and condemned attacks against civilians, irrespective of their location.

Uganda: President Yoweri Museveni expressed concern about the situation and called for dialogue.

Zambia: Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Stanley Kakubo, expressed support for Israel and condemned the attacks by Hamas.

African Solidarity for Palestine is Growing

Despite certain African countries offering diluted responses to the ‘Al- Aqsa Flood’ operation, the people of Africa firmly support Palestine, and solidarity is strengthening on the continent. 

That’s according to writer, analyst and expert with a special interest in the Palestinian issue in Africa, Suraya Dadoo.

“The Kenyan government issued a pro-Israel statement, but a significant and growing Palestinian solidarity movement, led by the group ‘Kenyans for Palestine,’ is emerging,” Dadoo told The Palestine Chronicle. 

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“A similar sentiment is present in Ghana, where the government’s statement leaned heavily towards Israel, but civil society groups on the ground are ensuring that the struggle for Palestinian rights remains in public consciousness,” Dadoo added.

“Even in Morocco, where the government has normalized relations with Israel, the anti-normalization movement has gained ground.”

Dadoo also suggested that the muted responses to the ‘Al-Aqsa Flood’ operation by Nigeria, Uganda, and Tanzania are primarily attributed to regime changes. “Previous leaders of these countries were more vocal on the issue,” she stated.

Despite the diverse responses at the government level, Dadoo maintained that activism and support for Palestine are unequivocally growing in Africa. 

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For instance, she pointed to the establishment of the Pan-African Solidarity Network (PAPSN) in Dakar as a significant milestone.

PAPSN is a coalition representing solidarity groups, trade unions, activists, and civil society from 21 African countries, coming together to share resources and experiences, fostering a grassroots surge in solidarity.

Dadoo said these official statements do not necessarily represent the sentiments of the people on the ground.

(The Palestine Chronicle) 

– Hasina Kathrada is a South African journalist with over 25 years of experience in media and communications. She contributed this article to The Palestine Chronicle.

(The Palestine Chronicle is a registered 501(c)3 organization, thus, all donations are tax deductible.)
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