Is­rael’s plans aren’t about help­ing Africa

African Independent - - OUTLOOK - ZA­HER BIRAWI

Abroad that his coun­try would not par­tic­i­pate.

Morocco, Egypt, Tu­nisia and Al­ge­ria also led a boy­cott and en­cour­aged other states to do the same. Most heeded the Pales­tinian call for sol­i­dar­ity, and Is­raeli me­dia re­ports that 14 out of 54 African heads of state con­firmed they were at­tend­ing the Lomé gath­er­ing.

Hav­ing re­sisted and fought Euro­pean coloni­sa­tion, Africans stood in sol­i­dar­ity with oc­cu­pied Pales­tine.

In re­ject­ing the sum­mit, they were also say­ing that Africa did not need, or want, a new colo­nial mas­ter.

Ha­mas po­lit­i­cal bureau mem­ber Mousa Abu Mar­zouq thanked the African states that boldly and pub­licly called for a boy­cott of the Lomé con­fer­ence.

Abu Mar­zouq said were the sum­mit to take place, it would be in the con­text of in­creased Is­raeli war­mon­ger­ing, the con­tin­ued Is­raeli-im­posed her­metic siege on the tiny ter­ri­tory of Gaza, the con­tin­ued and in­creased theft of Pales­tinian land in the West Bank, con­tin­u­ing apartheid poli­cies against Pales­tinian cit­i­zens of Is­rael, and on­go­ing evic­tions of Pales­tinian Chris­tians and Mus­lims from their homes and places of wor­ship in Jerusalem.

All th­ese crimes oc­cur while 6 mil­lion Pales­tinian refugees lan­guish in refugee camps, wait­ing to re­alise their right to re­turn to their homes.

Pales­tine Lib­er­a­tion Or­gan­i­sa­tion ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­ber Hanan Ashrawi said the can­cel­la­tion was a “a strong mes­sage that the world would not give Is­rael a free hand to in­fil­trate Africa in or­der to gain le­git­i­macy for its oc­cu­pa­tion”.

The slo­gan of the AfricaIs­rael sum­mit was “build­ing bridges to­ward greater shared pros­per­ity”. Is­rael claims it wants to im­prove the lives of Africans, yet it im­pris­ons thou­sands of African mi­grants from Ere­tria and South Su­dan at the Holot de­ten­tion fa­cil­ity in the Negev Desert.

Is­rael is so des­per­ate to rid the Zion­ist state of Africans that it has been of­fer­ing African mi­grants money to go and live in a third coun­try, such as Uganda or Rwanda.

As with the eth­nic cleans­ing of Pales­tini­ans, the Zion­ist vi­sion is one of an eth­ni­cally and racially ex­clu­sive state.

This is apartheid Is­rael’s vi­sion of “shared pros­per­ity” for Africa.

Char­ity be­gins at home. Is­rael does not pro­tect those Africans who are op­pressed by the regimes that the Zion­ist state sup­ports and, in some cases, arms.

How, then, can it con­trib­ute any­thing mean­ing­ful to the con­ti­nent?

Is­rael’s in­ter­est in Africa has noth­ing to do with im­prov­ing the lives of the African peo­ple.

The Zion­ist state is seek­ing sup­port for its ob­server sta­tus bid at the AU, and is us­ing African states as vot­ing fod­der at the UN.

It is ask­ing Africa to sus­tain the il­le­gal Is­raeli oc­cu­pa­tion of Pales­tine.

African gov­ern­ments must re­sist th­ese ef­forts of the apartheid Is­raeli state, and con­tinue to sup­port the Pales­tinian strug­gle for self­de­ter­mi­na­tion and hu­man rights, as Africa’s de­colo­nial move­ments had pre­vi­ously done.

This should be the mes­sage to Is­rael: Africa is not for sale.

De­colonised Africa is Pales­tine’s part­ner in the project to trans­form the world into a more just one.

Re­sist­ing nor­mal­i­sa­tion with the Is­raeli apartheid state is an essen­tial build­ing block for the lib­er­a­tion of not just the Pales­tinian peo­ple, but all the peo­ple of the Global South.

Zion­ist state is seek­ing sup­port for its ob­server sta­tus bid at the AU and use con­ti­nent as vot­ing fod­der at the UN

Za­her Birawi is the head of the boy­cott com­mit­tee of the Pop­u­lar Con­fer­ence for Pales­tini­ans Abroad

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