It is no longer news that war again broke out between Israel and Palestine. But what is rather more concerning, is the different positions held so far by African governments. The leaders in the continent have been divided since Saturday, October 7, 2023, when the war started.
While some African leaders have been mute on the ongoing war between the two countries, those that have so far reacted seemed torn between sympathy for Palestinians facing Israeli occupation and criticism of Hamas “terrorism” for its surprise rocket attack.
Amongst those that reacted was Algeria, as its Foreign Ministry issued a statement in the aftermath of the first attacks. Although, the statement did not reference the attack by Hamas. Rather, it criticized the attack by Israeli Forces on Gaza.
While noting that the attack claimed several lives of innocent Palestinians, whom Algeria described as martyrs that fell under the persistence of the Israeli occupation, the North African nation on to accuse Israel of practices that “violate the most basic humanitarian rules.”
In what appeared to be a similar stance, the Tunisian Presidency expressed its wholesome, and unconditional support to Palestinians.”
According to Tunisia, it is the right of Palestine to take back what belongs to them, maintaining that it as well reserves the right to establish its independent state, capital Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem).
Unlike Tunisia and Algeria, Félix Tshisekedi, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), expressed “solidarity” with Israel.
Tshisekedi maintained that countries should remain “united to fight terrorism in all its forms.”
Kenyan President, William Ruto, similarly joined in the solidarity for Israel.
In a Twitter thread cited by AfroWorldNews, Ruto wrote that “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 international community must mobilize to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financiers, sponsors, supporters, and enablers of these reprehensible criminal acts of terrorism to account and speedily bring them to justice.”
EXPLAINER: The conflict between Israel and Palestine
The region that both Jews and Palestinians are laying claim to today was once part of the Ottoman Empire and later came under British rule in the early 20th century.
The Palestinian people, who are Arabs native to this area, have long aspired to establish a state called Palestine in this region. According to Voc, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict revolves around the question of who has rightful ownership of the land and how it should be governed.
During the 20th century, Jewish individuals fleeing persecution in Europe sought to establish a Jewish state in what they regarded as their ancestral homeland. However, the Arab inhabitants at the time vehemently opposed this idea, asserting their own historical and cultural ties to the land, which was known as Palestine.
In the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the United Kingdom, which had control over Palestine after World War I, expressed support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. This declaration was met with resistance from the Arab population, leading to violent clashes.
Between 1922 and 1926, approximately 75,000 Jews immigrated to Palestine, with another 60,000 arriving in 1935, according to historical records from the University of Central Arkansas. Palestinian Arabs called for the UK to halt Jewish immigration, but these appeals were largely disregarded, resulting in violent confrontations and the loss of hundreds of lives.
In 1923, the British Mandate for Palestine was enacted under the authority of the League of Nations, the predecessor of the United Nations. This mandate tasked the UK with the responsibility of establishing a Jewish national homeland in the region, as reported by Time magazine.
By 1936, following a series of violent clashes between Jewish and Arab communities, the Peel Commission, appointed by the UK government, recommended the partition of Palestine into separate Jewish and Arab states, according to the University of Central Arkansas.
In 1947, the UK referred the Palestine issue to the United Nations, which proposed a partition plan featuring two main options, as detailed in The Britannica Encyclopaedia: one called for two separate states with economic ties (the majority proposal), and the other suggested a single binational state composed of autonomous Jewish and Palestinian areas (the minority proposal).
While the Jewish community approved of the first proposal, the Arabs opposed both options, as Britannica notes.
The final UN proposal, passed in November 1947, called for the partition of Palestine into Arab and Jewish states, with international administration of Jerusalem. This proposal was rejected by the Arab states.
In May 1948, Israel declared its independence, prompting immediate military intervention by Arab countries, including Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Egypt.
When the conflict ended, Israel had gained territory originally designated for Palestinian Arabs under the 1947 UN resolution. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank remained under the control of Egypt and Jordan, respectively, until 1967, as recorded by the US Department of State’s Office of the Historian.
AFRO WORLD NEWS