Is Israel-Palestine conflict customs war for Africa?

Wednesday, October 11th, 2023 07:00 | By
Netanyahu warns of “long and difficult” anti-Hamas onslaught
A man takes a solar panel from a mosque destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Khan Younis in Gaza Strip on Sunday. PHOTO/AFP

Recently, a brazen attack orchestrated by Hamas targeted Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wasted no time in labelling this act as a full-blown assault on his country, pledging an unwavering commitment to protect the safety and well-being of Israel’s citizens.

The Israel Defense Forces swiftly launched a counteroffensive, targeting known Hamas strongholds and infrastructure. The international community swiftly responded, with many world leaders unequivocally condemning the aggression, while others opted for a more cautious, neutral position.

During these Israel-Hamas conflicts, various African nations, including members of the African Union, have strongly advocated for an immediate cessation of hostilities. The African Union, in particular, has been actively engaged in diplomatic efforts to promote peace and stability in the region, working closely with international partners to find a lasting solution to the conflict.

As the conflict progresses, its impact will be felt in every corner of the world, Africa included. The Israel-Palestine conflict exerts its influence on Africa through various channels, including the rise of pro-Palestinian sentiment, diplomatic maneuvers by Israel, historical ties, and the potential impact on regional geopolitics.

One notable consequence of the conflict is the emergence of pro-Palestinian sentiment. A sense of solidarity fuels this sentiment with the Palestinian people, as African nations have historically experienced struggles for independence and self-determination.

Israel’s diplomatic maneuvers in Africa play a crucial role in shaping the continent’s stance on the conflict. Israel has actively sought to strengthen its ties with African nations, leveraging its expertise in various fields such as agriculture, technology, and security.

Historical ties between Africa and the Israel-Palestine conflict also contribute to the influence it holds on the continent. Africa played a significant role in supporting the Palestinian cause during the anti-colonial struggles of the mid-20th century. Many African nations recognised the State of Palestine shortly after its declaration in 1988. During Operation Thunderbolt in 1976, Kenya provided significant support for Israel. The support was a testament to the strong diplomatic ties between the two nations.

These historical connections continue to shape African perspectives on the conflict, with some countries maintaining steadfast support for the Palestinian cause and others like Kenya supporting the independence of Israel as stated by President William Ruto.

The potential impact of the Israel-Palestine conflict on regional geopolitics cannot be disregarded. Africa, being a continent of diverse interests and alliances, faces the risk of disruption to its existing regional dynamics due to this conflict.

Moreover, the involvement of external actors, including the US and various Middle Eastern powers, adds further complexity to the situation. The conflicts between Israel and Palestine possess the capacity to intensify pre-existing tensions and rivalries among African nations.

The divergent stances adopted by African countries regarding this matter may strain diplomatic relations and impede collaboration on other crucial regional challenges. It is imperative to address these complexities in a professional and comprehensive manner to ensure a conducive environment for fruitful cooperation and peaceful resolution.

Moreover, the involvement of external actors introduces a layer of complexity that African nations must navigate with caution. It is crucial for African leaders to engage in diplomatic efforts, promote dialogue, and seek peaceful resolutions to prevent the Israel-Palestine conflicts from spilling over and causing further instability in the region.

—The writer is an innovations evangelist and PhD [email protected]

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