Africa expected to stand with Palestine

2023-12-16 09:06:58
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 Palestinian Authority”.

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 Palestinians.

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 Israel’s) demands?

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.

The 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.

(Source: Agencies)

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