Africa expected to stand with Palestine
Africans, who experienced similar oppression not too long ago, should not stand idly by as the West tries to put the entirety of occupied Palestinian territories under an Israel-friendly puppet government.
After a two-day meeting of foreign ministers
from the wealthy Group of Seven (G7) countries in the Japanese capital, Tokyo,
in early November, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced that the
Palestinian resistance movement Hamas would no longer be allowed to rule Gaza.
“Israel has repeatedly told us that there’s
no going back to October 6 before the … attacks by Hamas,” Blinken said, adding
that Gaza – besieged and separated from the rest of the occupied Palestinian
territory – should eventually be unified with the West Bank but only “under the
Hence, the G7 nations – the United States,
Canada, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy – plus the
European Union seemingly ignored what the rest of the world and, most
importantly Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere, may think or want and
single-handedly decided that Hamas is effectively over and Palestine after this
war will be shaped according to the wishes of Israel.
It is extremely condescending and disturbing
that the world’s leading former colonial powers sat around a small table in
Tokyo and developed a provisional blueprint for the sociopolitical future of
Palestine, all without a clear mandate or significant input from the
The the dubious convention in Tokyo bore a
striking resemblance to the infamous Berlin Conference of 1884-1885, where
Western powers met to stake their illegal claims to African territories.
Even though one of the Berlin Conference’s
alleged aims was to consider the interests of the Indigenous populations, Otto
von Bismarck, the first chancellor of the German empire, did not invite
Africans to the 104-day-long conference.
The G7’s exclusive rendezvous in Tokyo was
Gaza’s umpteenth Berlin 1884 moment in the past seven decades.
Why cannot Palestinians exercise their
democratic right to choose a government of their liking? Why does the G7 get to
impose a new political arrangement and dispensation that will specifically
exclude Hamas? Is democracy in Palestine only synonymous with the West’s (and
To be clear, Blinken – the highest ranking
diplomat of a country that has waged countless bloody wars across the world in
the name of “democracy” and “human rights” – did not mention anything at all in
this meeting, which included zero Palestinian representatives, about
Palestinian self-determination. He did not make any plans to aid the surviving
inhabitants of the besieged enclave, to hold a referendum on Gaza’s political
future or put forward a road-map for them to hold democratic elections to choose
a post-war leadership of their liking.
Far from establishing a viable peace in Gaza
and the West Bank, the G7 countries want to obliterate the will of the
Palestinian people, clearly in the vain hope it would facilitate a problematic
return to an Israeli-friendly dispensation under Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas, a deeply unpopular and ineffective leader who has long
been eager to “cooperate” with Israel to keep his government in power and the
Palestinian resistance to apartheid and occupation in check.
Hamas has been governing Gaza since it
defeated Abbas’s Fatah party in the January 2006 parliamentary elections. Since
then, the Western countries conspired to topple the Hamas government and return
Gaza to PA control at least one other time.
In 2006, then-US President George W Bush and
his secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, reportedly approved a clandestine
plan for Abbas’s Fatah party to overthrow the Hamas government in Gaza. In the
event the plot failed, the Bush administration had set aside $1.27bn over five
years to train 4,700 new Fatah troops that would try to disrupt and eventually
oust the democratically elected government of Gaza.
Although these plans failed and are now
widely condemned as illegal, immoral and counterproductive, today the US and
its allies once again appear determined to get rid of Hamas and put the
entirety of the occupied Palestinian territories under a docile,
Israel-friendly puppet government.
This should not be allowed. Forcing
Palestinians under the authority of a government that is only Palestinian in
name and that is propped up by and indebted to colonial powers will not achieve
sustainable peace or deliver justice.
Africans know such neocolonialist puppet
governments either swiftly fail and trigger renewed bloodshed or remain in
power for a prolonged time through violence, oppression and outside support
while turning the land they govern in the name of their colonial masters into a
swamp of corruption, human rights abuses, extreme poverty and widespread
unemployment – a swamp that takes consequent national government years, if not
decades, to fully clean up.
As Israel makes clear its plans
after the end of this war to occupy Gaza for an indefinite time, expand its
illegal settlement enterprise in the West Bank and continue to deny the
Palestinian right to self-determination, African states, which know such
colonial abuse well, should not stand idly by.
They must sever diplomatic ties with Israel and pressure it to
follow international law.
time is ripe for the end of Western colonization in Palestine, and Africa must
do its part to put things right.
This article was
written by Tafi Mhaka, Al Jazeera columnist.