PALESTINIAN PROBLEM IS NOT AFRICAN PROBLEM— Response to Legal Submissions by Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn) and Others against Israel’s African Union Observer Status

 

 

Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe, PhD, DD

Research Fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Director, Nigerian Civil War and Genocide Research Network @Exile in Kigali, Rwanda

E-mail: [email protected]             Tel (Whatsapp only): +22896035301

Date: October 26, 2021

 

 

His Excellency Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo

Chairperson of African Union and President, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Bureau of Chairperson, African Union Commission,

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

Your Excellency,

PALESTINIAN PROBLEM IS NOT AFRICAN PROBLEM— Response to Legal Submissions by Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn) and Others against Israel’s African Union Observer Status

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu
Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo, President, Democratic Republic of Congo and African Union Chairman

Introduction

This is a follow-up to my earlier submission on the question of Israel’s Observer Status titled: “AFRICAN UNION, ARAB NEO-COLONIAL CONSPIRACY AND THE CHALLENGES OF ISRAEL’S STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP— A PAN-AFRICANIST EXPERT POSITION PAPER ON THE CHALLENGES OF ISRAEL’S OBSERVER STATUS IN AFRICAN UNION”, and a response to the petition by a group of 18 Islamic Public Opinion mercenaries led by an inconsequential stranger-element in Republic of South Africa called International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP).

I am by this response requesting your daring intervention as the Chairperson of African Union to save the image of Black Africa from the insults being perpetrated on her and the resting Spirits of the founding-fathers of Pan-Africanism as perpetually colonized peoples and political pawns to the Arab world. How can the issue of Palestinian struggles against Israel be a burning matter on the chambers of African Union when the core-Arab nations are gradually creating political détente with the same Israel? How long shall Black Africa continue to weep more than the bereaved? Has Black Africa fully recovered from the shameful episode of the 1973 Yom Kippur War when she attempted to weep more than the same bereaved Arab nations only to be stabbed on the back by the same bereaved Arabs? Is the current upsurge of Arab and Islamic inspired insurgencies in Black Africa not enough lessons for the Black African nations to re-examine their so-called friendship with the Arab world both in and outside the African Union?

To state the obvious, the present inundation of public spaces with incendiary calls for the retrieval of Israel’s Observer status in African Union by a group of Arab nations and their mercenary cronies is not only embarrassing to the image and personality of Black Africa as a continent of sovereign nations but amounts to Arab neo-colonial presumptuousness. It is not only irritating to the spirit of Black African independence but assumes the garb of coated insult on the spirit of the founding-fathers of Pan-Africanism. It tends to surmise the commonplace belief that Black Africa lacks intelligent and principled leadership able to stand its grounds on matters of collective interest against Arab and Western neo-colonial presumptuousness. How can strangers determine who becomes Africa’s friend or enemy?

In the first instance, on what locus do the stated legal submissions stand? What are the links of the authors of the said submissions to African Union and the collective interests of the majority Black African nations of the Continent? Does the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) which is a mere observer in African Union possess the legal right to determine which country becomes an observer to African Union? What is the legal status of the International Justice for Palestinians (ICJP) within the context of Continental Africa?

On what legal basis does the so-called Democracy for the Arab World (DAWN) operate in Africa to grant it the right to question which country should be accepted as a friend of Africa? Can an African Government or Non-Governmental Organization have the audacity to question the League of Arab States over which country becomes their observer? It is it ridiculous that the Arab nation and people still regard Africans as their appendage that are not matured and intelligent enough to think and act for themselves. For the South African Legal Resources Centre, it should have been more honorable to advance its grievances through the venomous conduit of the South African Government than to pawn to the Arab slave-drivers.

We are told that the following mercenary Non-Governmental Organizations were recruited to endorse the retraction of a legally binding pronouncement on Israel’s Observer Status in African Union:

  1. American Muslims for Palestine
  2. Americans for Justice in Palestine Action
  3. Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC)
  4. Cairo Institute for Human Rights
  5. Citizens For Justice in the Middle East
  6. Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN)
  7. Freedom Forward
  8. Institute for Policy Studies, New Internationalism Project
  9. International Centre of Justice for Palestinians (ICJP)
  10. Kairos USA
  11. Legal Resources Centre (South Africa)
  12. National Lawyers Guild, Palestine Subcommittee
  13. New York City Democratic Socialists of America (NYC-DSA) Anti-War Working Group
  14. Peace Action
  15. St. Louis Friends of Bethlehem
  16. Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East (UUJME)
  17. United Methodists for Kairos Response (UMKR)
  18. Voices from the Holy Land

In the first instance, what are these organizations to African Union in particular and Africa as a Continent in general? We are talking about an African Union interest, successor to Organization of African Unity (OAU) founded on the original principles of Pan Africanism; and not on the precepts of Pan Arabism which is constructed on narrow Arab interests. The African Union is made up of fifty-five independent nations, majority of whom are Black African by racial definition and on whose original interest the African Union is founded. And if the majority of these nations have diplomatic relations with Israel, what then is wrong with the African Union admitting her as an observer?

It is important to re-emphasize that the episode of 1973 Yom Kippur War in which the Black African nations were misled and stabbed at the back by the Arab nations is still fresh in our minds. As far as we are concerned, what constitutes the primary interest of the African Union is the primary interest of the Black African members; just as what constitutes the primary interest of the Arab League is the primary interest of the Arab members of the African Union. Israel’s observer status is in the best interest of the majority of African States.

Human Rights and Arab-Israel Moral Weighting

The fundamental question we should be asking ourselves is on whose primary interest is Israel’s Observer membership of African Union founded? This question has not been addressed by those hordes of opponents of Israel. If majority of States of the African Union, including the Palestinian-drunken Republic of South Africa have diplomatic relations with Israel, on what moral basis is her membership of African Union being questioned? One cannot be sleeping with a mad woman to the knowledge of members of his family and refuses to associate with her in public. Such action is not only criminally hypocritical but an abuse of the moral principles association.

This rightly explains why one could see in the combined leadership of the current President of the African Union, President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and African Union Commission Chairman Mousa Faki Mahamat of Chad Republic a clear display of true Pan-African spirit in their decision to accord Israel the most deserved Observer status. It was encouraging to note that in his reaction to critics of the decision, Mahamat made it known that his action was in accordance with his powers and responsibilities as the African Union Commission Chairman, as much as it was guided by the fact that majority of African Union members have diplomatic relations with Israel. His actions as he put it, “falls within his full sphere of competence, without being tied to any preliminary procedure.”[1] His action no doubt appears to herald a new beginning in the reassertion of true Pan Africanism in line with the original visions of the founding fathers of African Union through the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

Mahamat’s position is reminiscent of the admonition of one of the founding-fathers of African Union, President Senghor of Senegal when he stated in March 1973 in his opposition to the call for a break of diplomatic relations with the State of Israel:

 

I do not allow others to dictate Senegal’s foreign policy. Breaking with Israel will not help find a solution to the problem. Egypt, since Nasser, has chosen a policy of peace through dialogue, and we should help get a dialogue started.[2]

 

President Senghor’s position was followed by the words of the Director of Senegal’s External Relations:

We are predominantly a Moslem country but we are not Arabs, and while we sympathize with the Arabs we do not share the same overall outlook. Our position is also clear that we are against the Israeli occupation of Arab territories. But we contend that the Middle Eastern problem is one of politics.[3]

It is surprising that these hordes of mainly Islamic public opinion mercenaries should be nose-diving into African exclusive African affairs on behalf of a stranger-organization when the Arab and Islamic worlds remain the most repressive and undemocratic of all nations of the world.  Which country among the Arab and Islamic worlds is more democratic or has more more freedom than The State of Israel? It is even surprising that Algeria of all nations should be spear-heading the opposition against Israel against the background of occupation of territory and human rights abuses. It is on record that many groups and agencies which included the European Union Parliament, Human Rights Watch, EuroMed Rights, Amnesty International, and Front Line Defenders among others, have been protesting the repressive policies of the Algerian Government against the indigenous African Kabyle people whose land is illegally occupied by the Arab Algerian Government.

The latest in such protests specially coming from members of European Parliament was that of the Italian member Massimiliano Salini who raised the issue of Algeria’s authoritarianism through a letter dated June 29, 2020 addressed respectively to the Vice-President of European Commission and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, in protest to Algeria’s repression of the country’s Northern Kabylie Region inhabitants who are made up of the Indigenous Amazigh people.[4]

In fact, Algeria is one of the most repressive Arab and Muslim countries after Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and now Nigeria, where it is dangerous for Christians to exercise their faith freely. Many Churches have been dubiously closed and Christians persecuted since the 2006 Ordinance restricting non-Muslim worship in the country, which stipulates that every Church must obtain permission through registration with the National Committee, and which never sat for once.

Those Arab nations and their international public opinion mercenaries opposed to Israel’s Observer status should first address the subject matter of the 2020 Abraham Accord that saw some Arab nations establish diplomatic relations with Israel before question the right of African Union to decide who should be her friend. It is hypocritical, if not cowardly if these Non-Governmental organizations and their cowardly pay-masters should keep mute over the Abraham Accord while agitating over a stranger’s right to accommodate the same assumed enemy.

 

Between September 2020 and January 2021 four Arab nations—Bahrain, United Arab Emirates (UAR), Morocco, and Sudan established diplomatic relations with Israel. In addition, the Kingdom of Morocco solidified her claim over Sahrawi Arab Republic—a full member of African Union when the United States of America officially recognized such claim and subsequently opened a Consulate in the disputed territory. The African Union with her most vociferous limbless nations—Algeria and South Africa were there standing akimbo without the slightest move to demand for the expulsion of Morocco from African Union or even churn out their customary verbose criticisms against the United States of America for acceding to the annexation of an independent African State by a fellow African State. Even the forty-five million Kurds scattered in Iran, Turkey, Iraq, and Syria and, the Berber Kabyles of Algeria have long been agitating for self-determination and independence from their Arab, Turkish and Iranian oppressors but neither the African Union nor the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has deemed it necessary to intervene in the same manner it intervenes in the Palestine case.

 

There is no doubt that the Abraham Accord no doubt presents Black Africa with a three-pronged diplomatic dilemma—first, the problem of redefining her realm of exclusive interests as a bloc in African Union in contradistinction to what constitute exclusive Arab interests within the comity of African Union States; second, the ability of individual African States to effectively redefine their respective national interests against any collective policy surreptitiously imposed from Regional or Continental body; and thirdly, the conscious ability of the Black African States to extricate themselves from the domineering yoke of Arab States within the African Union and re-navigate the course of their history in line with the original visions of Pan-Africanism. Black Africa has come to the age where strangers cannot just jump into their political arena and begin to dictate the tune of her minds. We advice those Arab and Muslim mercenaries protesting Israel’s African Union Observer status to first remove the log in their eyes before looking at the Speck in another one’s eyes.

 

Black Apartheid and the Shame of Xenophobic South Africa

It remarkable to note that no Arab or Islamic country went so far in a matter that concerns them directly to engage on self-suffocation diplomacy as did the Republic of South Africa.  To the most discerning Pan Africanists, especially those countries whose citizens suffered under the heinous crime of Xenophobia, South Africa’s unguided opposition against Israel’s African Union observer status on the grounds of racism, apartheid and occupation of Palestinian territories which are better defined as self-scathing, are simply smack of diplomatic insolence on the collective mentality of sub-Saharan African States whose nations were constructed on the original ideals of Black African consciousness and not on a wobbling Continental unity painted in Arab racist colors.

Not only were the stated grounds coated with moribund anti-Semitic insinuations that tended to demean the moral judgment of the legion of African States that maintain diplomatic relations with The State of Israel, of which the Republic of South Africa is incidentally a part, but goes to portray the ruling African National Congress (ANC) Government of Republic of South as a leadership drunken with excess euphoria of freedom, which subsequently resulted to pungent ignorance of its past clothed in blotted moral judgment.

There is no arguing the fact that more than the era of Apartheid the Republic of South Africa has remained today the most unsafe country in Africa to Black African immigrants. Thus it sounds self-mockery that a Minister of the Republic of South Africa would be insinuating anti-Semitism against The State of Israel even implying the crime of racism at the same time. To be clear of the trajectory of our argument, this was what the 2020 Report of Human Rights Watch says about the Republic of South Africa in relation to Human Rights violations and Apartheid related crime of Xenophobia:

The 64-page report, “They Have Robbed Me of My Life’: Xenophobic Violence Against Non-Nationals in South Africa,” details xenophobic incidents in the year after the government adopted the National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance. Human Rights Watch documented killings, serious injuries, forced displacement, discrimination, and barriers to justice and basic services. The problems include indifference, denial and tacit approval of xenophobic actions by government and law enforcement authorities, barriers to legal representation, and difficulty in acquiring and renewing documents to maintain legal status and to access services including education and health care.[5]

The question before any other query or observation is why does the Republic of South Africa still maintain diplomatic relations with The State of Israel if according to Naledi Pandor the latter is an embodiment of  all the evils outlined above? Does that not liken to the man who pours spittle on a mad woman in the daytime but sleeps with her in the night? It is indeed unlikely if South Africa actually looked back at her history of liberation struggles against Apartheid in concert with the collective sacrifices of independent Black African nations towards her freedom before descending to the level of officially sanctioned Xenophobia against the citizens of the same nations.

Conclusion

 

One issue which needs to be addressed before the Arab nations both in and out of the African Union is that the era when they chose friends for African nations has passed. Black African nations are independent States on their right with peculiar problems distinct from those of the Arab nations. The African Union should not therefore present itself as a tool for advancing the particular interests of a particular section of the Union.

In the first place, admitting Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as an observer nation of the African Union without concurrent admission of the State of Israel runs against the original principles of the African Union as advanced by the Organization of African Unity. It makes Black Africa a biased umpire no more no less. The time has therefore come for the Arab members of African Union to accept the primacy of African ideals over their presumptuous Arab identity or quit the Union.

The Arabs have the League of Arab Nations exclusive for their collective Arab interests; Black Africans have no such organization. The Arabs have the Organization of Islamic Cooperation at their political and religious disposals; Black Africa has none of such. The Arabs have Organization of Arab Petroleum Producing Countries; Black Africa has none of such. It is therefore pertinent for the Arab nations to know that Black Africa in showing any form of sympathy with the Palestinian cause is only engaging in a mercenary diplomacy which value had been tested long ago and discarded and so is not under any obligation to continue in enmity with Israel.

 

Yours Truly,

Nwankwo Tony Nwaezeigwe, PhD, DD

Kigali, Republic of Rwanda

This 26th Day of October, 2021

 

Cc: Assembly of Heads of State and Government, African Union

[1]  Carlos Mureithi, “Why African countries are against Israel’s new African Union role” Quarzt Africa

https://qz.com/africa/2046654/why-is-israel-trying-to-enter-the-african-union/

 

[2]  Phillip Decraene, “Africa and the Middle East crisis: is the romance with Israel over?” Africa Report May-June 1973, 20

[3]  Jake C. Miller, “Africa-Israeli Relations: Impact on Continental Unity” The Middle East Journal Vol. 29, No. 4, 1975, 44-5

 

[4] UNPO, “Kabylia: MEP Questions Treatment of the Kabyle People” https://unpo.org/article/21964 Jul 05, 2020

[5] Human Rights Watch, “South Africa: Widespread Xenophobic Violence—Implement National Action Plan; Hold Attackers Responsible” September 17, 2020 4:00AM EDT https://www.hrw.org/news/2020/09/17/south-africa-widespread-xenophobic-violence

 

 

 

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