Tunisians protest in support of Palestine in 2021. Since the Hamas attack on Israel in October, governments and civil societies around the African continent have shown a disproportionate amount of support for Palestine.
“Hamas is a liberation organization and mujahideen struggling to liberate the Palestinian land from Jews, we will not accept to call it a terror group.”
While the earliest days of the war between Israel and Hamas elicited the greatest amount of support for the Palestinian Territories from civil societies in North Africa, increasingly, both governments and civil societies in other locations around the African continent are similarly choosing sides, typically in support of the Palestinian Territories.[i]
The most vociferous calls in support of the Palestinian Territories, and Hamas, have come from some of the continent’s Muslim-majority states. According to the first article from the Mogadishu-based Shabelle Media, Somalia’s prime minister, Hamza Abdia Barre, has rejected calls to label Hamas a terrorist organization. Instead, he publicly declared that “Hamas is a liberation organization… struggling to liberate the Palestinian land from Jews: we will not accept to call it a terror organization.” Such rhetoric from Somalia’s government is particularly interesting given that it faces its own significant threats from Al-Shabaab, itself one of the world’s most violent jihadist terrorist groups. According to the second excerpted article from the pan-African news aggregator AllAfrica.com, similar manifestations of support for the Palestinian Territories have emerged in Libya. Though the country is currently divided into two warring factions vying for official recognition, the eastern side’s parliament, overseen by General Khalifa Haftar and the Libyan National Army (LNA), recently released a statement urging the expulsion of entities that support Israel and the cessation of the export of oil and gas to those countries that support Israel. It particularly decried what it deemed to be hypocritical rhetoric on the support of human rights by the United States, the U.K., France, and Italy, which the parliament argued “support the Zionist entity [Israel] in its crimes.” For its part, Senegal’s president, Macky Sall, has led his state to a slightly more balanced outlook. According to the third article from the Senegal-based DakarActu, Sall has decried deaths in Gaza, urged a two-state solution, but has still shown some degree of preference in proposing the creation of a global solidarity fund to support the people of Gaza. Outside of these pro-Palestinian government policies, African civil society support of the Palestinian Territories has also been evident, even in non-Muslim majority states. According to the fourth article from the South Africa-based news site GroundUp, large pro-Palestinian marches have occurred in Cape Town, with protestors urging the closure of the Israeli Embassy in South Africa. African states in which the U.S. Army operates are demonstrating opposing views on the issue that have the potential to cause diplomatic friction given ongoing U.S. military aid to Israel.
“Somali PM says Hamas is not terrorist organization, calls it a liberation group,” Shabelle Media (Mogadishu, Somalia-based news publication), 2 November 2023. https://shabellemedia.com/somali-pm-says-hamas-is-not-terrorist-organisation-calls-it-a-liberation-group/
Prime Minister Hamza Abdi Barre said that the government of Somalia refused to call Hamas a “terrorist organization” and did not heed pressure.
“Hamas is a liberation organization and mujahideen struggling to liberate the Palestinian land from Jews, we will not accept to call it a terror group,” added Barre…
The Muslim world was divided, made enemies of each other, and forced to call Hamas a terrorist organization. We don’t say it, and we don’t accept it,” said the prime minister….
The Somali Prime Minister said the solution is to find two states – Israel and Palestine,” We will not compromise until we see a Palestinian government with Jerusalem as its capital.
Somalia is among many Muslim countries, including Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Yemen that do not recognize Israel as a state.
Jerry Chifamba, “Libya’s Parliament Orders Out of Countries Supporting Israel,” AllAfrica.com (pan-African news aggregator), 26 October 2023. https://allafrica.com/stories/202310260518.html
The Libyan parliament on Wednesday, October 25, requested that ambassadors from countries that “support” Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza leave the country…
In an announcement posted on its official website, the parliament located in the east, supported by military leader Khalifa Haftar in Libya, which is divided between two opposing administrations, threatened to shut off energy supplies if “massacres” against Palestinians continued.
“We demand that the ambassadors of the states which support the Zionist entity (Israel) in its crimes leave the territory (of Libya) immediately,” the statement read.
“If the massacres committed by the Zionist enemy do not stop, we demand that the Libyan government suspend the export of oil and gas to the states that support it,” it said.
The acts of “the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy” were condemned “in the strongest terms” by the parliament. According to the statement, the leaders of these countries “lecture on human rights and the right of peoples to self-determination” while they “support the Zionist entity in its crimes” in Gaza, it said…
“Bombardements à Gaza: Macky Sall propose ‘la mise en place d’un fonds de solidarité en faveur du peuple palestinien,’” (“Bombings in Gaza: Macky Sall proposes “the establishment of a solidarity fund for the Palestinian people”), DakarActu (private Senegal-based news site), 11 November 2023. https://www.dakaractu.com/Bombardements-a-Gaza-Macky-Sall-propose-la-mise-en-place-d-un-fonds-de-solidarite-en-faveur-du-peuple-palestinien_a240238.html
From Riyadh where he is, the head of state, Macky Sall, says he is concerned about the situation prevailing in Gaza. He called for the establishment of a solidarity fund for the Palestinian people.
“As we sit here, I think of the unbearable human tragedy in Gaza. Senegal reiterates its serious concern at so many deaths, injuries and destruction.”…
Thus, he said: “I call for the establishment of a solidarity fund in favor of the Palestinian people. Only a peaceful settlement, establishing two independent and sovereign States, Israel and Palestine, each within secure and internationally recognized borders, in accordance with relevant United Nations resolutions, will bring peace for all.
Matthew Hirsch, “Thousands march in Cape Town, call for ceasefire in Gaza,” GroundUp (private South Africa-based news site), 22 October 2023. https://www.groundup.org.za/article/thousands-march-in-cape-town-calling-for-ceasefire-in-gaza/
Several thousand people marched through the streets of Salt River, Cape Town, on Sunday in a show of solidarity for the people of Palestine.
The march was organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Salt River Heritage Society. It was one many pro-Palestine marches across the world this weekend…Protesters held placards and flags, while chants of “free Palestine” and “stop the genocide, stop the hate” were heard.The protesters demanded that the Israeli embassy be shut down. They also called for an immediate ceasefire and for support for humanitarian aid for Gaza. They called for South Africans who serve in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) to be prosecuted.
[i] For more on early support for Palestine emanating from northern Africa, see: Jason Warner, “North Africa Shows Wave of Support for Palestinians at Start of Israel-Hamas War,” OE Watch 10-2023. https://fmso.tradoc.army.mil/2024/north-african-wave-of-support-for-palestinians-at-onset-of-israel-hamas-war/
Image: Tunisians protest in support of Palestine in 2021. Since the Hamas attack on Israel in October, governments and civil societies around the African continent have shown a disproportionate amount of support for Palestine.
Attribution: BY-SA 4.0