No matter how many technological advancements or solutions to terrorism he offers, Netanyahu won’t be able to convince African states to love Israel before the occupation comes to an end.
By Ilan Baruch
Spokespersons for the Israeli government have recently decided to define Israel’s diplomatic ties with Africa as a strategic goal. During his visit to the continent in July, the Prime Minister’s Office told the media that it hopes the African Union, based in Addis Ababa, will renew Israel’s status as observer. Ethiopia’s prime minister even went so far as to say that “Israel is working hard in many countries in Africa. There is no reason to deny it the status of observer.”
That status was revoked in 2002, when the Organisation of African Unity became the African Union. The president of the union in those days, Muammar Qaddafi, pressured the organization to remove Israel, in solidarity with the Palestinian people at the height of the Second Intifada.
Only four African states — Liberia, Ethiopia, Egypt, and South Africa — were part of the United Nations when it adopted the Partition Plan for Palestine for the establishment of two independent states, Jewish and Arab, in November 1947 (at the time the UN was made up of 56 states alone). Today there are 194 states in the United Nations, including 56 African countries, of which 15 have no diplomatic ties with Israel. Following the announcement of the renewal of ties between Israel and Guinea, Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dore Gold said that ” The number of countries on the African continent that still haven’t re-established ties with Israel is steadily decreasing, and we’re hopeful that soon this number will not exist anymore.”
On the sidelines of last week’s UN General Assembly, Netanyahu held a closed meeting with 15 heads of state and top officials from various African states. According to a readout released by the Prime Minister’s Office, Netanyahu told the group that “Israel could be an amazing partner for their countries. He said that technology changes everything, including in communications, medicine, agriculture and education,” noting that Israel wants to share its technology with African countries.
For years Israel has been frustrated with the gap between its friendly, bilateral relations with African countries and their tendency to vote in favor of anti-Israel resolutions at the UN. Netanyahu opened up his speech at the General Assembly...Read More