African Government Support for Palestinian Territories Spreads

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, 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.

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,” (pan-African news aggregator), 26 October 2023.

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.   

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.

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.

Image Information:

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

Syrian Regime, Opposition Wary of Hamas Despite Support for 7 October Attacks on Israel

Damage in Gaza Strip during the October 2023

“Syrians received the news of the operation as a historic, heroic act that was able to break the prestige of the Israeli occupier…”

On the surface, Hamas seems to enjoy widespread support in Syria among backers of both the government and the anti-government Sunni Arab opposition.[i] Media outlets associated with each side have used laudatory rhetoric to describe the 7 October Hamas “al-Aqsa Flood” operation. The first accompanying excerpt from the anti-Syrian-government news website Syria TV,describes the Hamas raid as “a source of pride for the Arab and Islamic nation in every sense of the word.” The second excerpt, from the pro-Syrian government daily al-Watan, states that Hamas’ raid “will be recorded in history in golden letters that time will not erase.” In addition to widespread support for the operation itself, outlets affiliated with both the Syrian regime and the opposition strongly oppose Israel’s military actions in Gaza. Thus, according to the author of the third accompanying excerpt from the Qatar-aligned al-Araby al-Jadeed, events in Gaza have forged the first “consensus among the various components of the Syrian people…since the beginning of the revolution.” And yet, while they agree with the operation, the Syrian government and its opposition also concur in being wary of Hamas. Hamas was an ally of the Syrian government until 2012, when it broke with Damascus and sided with members of the Syrian rebellion. In 2017, however, Hamas’s new leadership steered the group back into the pro-Iran camp, and in 2022, Hamas formally reconciled with the Syrian government.[ii] Many in the Syrian opposition resent Hamas’s return to supporting the Syrian government, as expressed in the fourth accompanying excerpt from the Syrian opposition news website SyriaDirect. Similarly, the Syrian government remains skeptical of Hamas despite their recent rapprochement. Last August, Syrian President Assad accused Hamas’ leadership of “betrayal” for siding with Syrian rebels and against his government for much of the 2010s.[iii] Indeed, since the “al-Aqsa Flood” attack on 7 October, the Assad government has taken steps to remove military assets from areas near the border with Israel, in a sign that it seeks to avoid becoming militarily entangled on Hamas’ side.[iv] This shared perspective between the Syrian government and opposition – widespread support for the  “al-Aqsa Flood” operation, strong opposition to Israeli military activity in Gaza, and a general distrust of Hamas – is likely generalizable to other segments of the broader Arab public.


طوفان الأقصى وأسطورة الجيش الذي لا يقهر 

Fayez al-Asmar. “Al-Aqsa Flood and the myth of the invincible army,” Syria TV (Syrian opposition news website), 12 October 2023.طوفان-الأقصى-وأسطورة-الجيش-الذي-لا-يقهر 

In fact, the Hamas operation is an unprecedented military operation in terms of size and method of implementation in the history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and it in itself is a source of pride for the Arab and Islamic nation in every sense of the word. 

بين «طوفان الأقصى» والطوفان الجارف 

Rifaat Badawi. “Between the al-Aqsa Flood and the torrential flood,” Al-Watan (pro-government Syrian daily), 10 October 2023.بين-طوفان-الأقصى-والطوفان-الجارف/

The “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation will be recorded in history in golden letters that time will not erase, because it will remain engraved in the memory of the Palestinian and Arab generations who believe in resisting and defeating the Israeli occupation, for all of Palestine, from the river to the sea, and its capital will be Holy Jerusalem, no matter how many sacrifices are made and no matter how long it takes.

غزة التي وحدت السوريين

“Gaza, which unified Syrians,” al-Araby al-Jadeed (Qatari-aligned daily), 15 October 2023.غزة-التي-وحدت-السوريين

The “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation and the subsequent Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip formed a consensus among the various components of the Syrian people, with all their affiliations, the first of its kind since the beginning of the Syrian revolution. At the popular level, in all opposition-controlled areas, and in diaspora countries, Syrians received the news of the operation as a historic, heroic act that was able to break the prestige of the Israeli occupier.

من إدلب هنا غزة: السوريون يشاركون الفلسطينيين آلامهم ويستذكرون مأساتهم

“From Idlib to Gaza: Syrians share the pain of the Palestinians and remember their tragedy,” Syria Direct (Syrian opposition news website), 21 October 2023.من-إدلب-هنا-غزة-السوريون-يشاركون-الفلس/

Many Syrians feel let down by the Hamas movement, which restored relations with the Syrian regime in 2022, after ten years of estrangement that began when it left Damascus in February 2012. This in addition to Hamas’s close relations with Iran, the regime’s main ally in suppressing Syrians who protested against Assad in the spring of 2011, demanding freedom. However, their position on Hamas did not affect their sympathy for the Palestinian cause and support for the people of Gaza, as expressed by a number of sources who spoke to Syria Direct.


[i] For additional context see: “Syrians’ Reactions to the First Weeks of Israel-Hamas War,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy-Fikra Forum, 24 October 2023.

[ii] For additional details on Hamas in the region, see: Lucas Winter. “Hamas Rejoins the Resistance Axis,” OE Watch, December 2017.

[iii] “After Assad Insulted its Leaders, Hamas to Open Office in Damascus,” Syrian Observer, 15 August 2023.

[iv] “Al-Assad Was Absent from Nasrallah’s Speech,” Syrian Observer, 10 November 2023.

Image Information:

Image:  Damage in Gaza Strip during the October 2023
Source: Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa) in contract with APAimages,
Attribution: CC BY-SA 3.0

Khamenei Speaks on Necessity of Palestinian “Resistance”

Poster from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s webpage celebrating Palestinian “resistance” against Israel.

Poster from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s webpage celebrating Palestinian “resistance” against Israel.

“The Resistance fights against international terrorism.”

During his annual Qods Day speech, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei doubled down on the necessity to support regional “resistance” against not only Israel but also the United States and its allies.  The Iranian government labels terrorist actions as “resistance” and in recent years, in addition to Palestinian “resistance,” other regional groups such as Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraqi militias, and the Yemeni Houthis have also taken center stage on Qods Day.  In his televised address, excerpted here from his official webpage,, Khamenei argues that most Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza, and Israel proper, i.e., “the 1948… lands,” support Palestinian attacks.  This directly contradicts core assumptions shaping Western policymaking, but suggests that Iran claims it has popular approval to support and sponsor attacks against Israel, such as the sharp increase in stabbing attacks in Israeli towns and cities in recent months within the 1949 armistice lines.  Khamenei also contextualized Iranian support for Palestinian “resistance” within the greater fight for control in Lebanon, the battle against the Islamic State in Syria, and the fight against Americans in Iraq.  Khamenei is claiming wide victory for Iranian policy, a fact that he will probably use to double down on further rejectionism of Israel and an active U.S. role in the Middle East in coming years.  Any hope that Western diplomacy might lead to a change in Iranian behavior seems doubtful so long as Khamenei remains at Iran’s helm.


“Sokhanrani Televisiyon beh Monisabat Roz-e Jihani Qods (Televised Speech on the Occasion of World Qods Day),” (Khamenei’s official website), 29 April 2022.

Resistance has been the Most Blessed Phenomenon

Polls show that almost 70 percent of the Palestinians in the 1948 and 1967 lands and in the surrounding camps encourage the Palestinian leaders to carry out attacks on the Zionist regime. This is an important phenomenon because it signifies the complete preparedness of the Palestinians to confront the usurping regime and it provides the mujahid organizations with the freedom to take military action whenever they deem necessary.

The jihadi moves of the people of Palestine in the two northern and southern parts of the 1948 lands, and at the same time, the massive rallies in Jordan and Eastern Quds, the brave defense of the Al-Aqsa Mosque by Palestinian youth, and the military maneuvers in Gaza indicate that all of Palestine has turned into an arena of resistance. At present, the people of Palestine are unanimous about continuing this struggle on the path of God….

The formation of the Resistance in West Asia has been the most blessed phenomenon in this region in recent decades. It was the magnificence of the Resistance that was able to cleanse the occupied territories of Lebanon of the pollution of the Zionists, pull Iraq out from the clutches of the Americans, save Iraq from the maliciousness of the Islamic State, and assist Syrian defenders in the face of the U.S. schemes. The Resistance fights against international terrorism, helps the resistant people of Yemen in the war that has been imposed on them, wrestles with the Zionist usurpers in Palestine and will bring them to their knees with God’s grace….The Islamic Republic of Iran advocates and supports the camp of Resistance. It advocates and supports the Palestinian Resistance. We have always said this, we have always acted on this, and we have stood by it.

Image Information:

Image: Poster from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s webpage celebrating Palestinian “resistance” against Israel.
Attribution: none