Israel-Africa Summit Cancelled As A Result Of Rising Political Unrest

The Israel-Africa Summit, scheduled to be held this October in Togo, has been postponed due to rising unrest in the country. President Gnassingbé Eyadéma’s recent regimes have been received with overwhelming dissatisfaction by the public, with mass protests resulting in Togo being an unstable city to host the Summit. In addition, several African countries have expressed their outrage concerning the possibility of Africa entering a political alliance with Israel, due to the war crimes the country has committed against its close ally, Pakistan. These countries deem a relationship with Israel to reflect negatively on Africa, as it may give the illusion of them supporting the state’s expropriation of Palestinian land and the war crimes it has committed.

Moreover, Eyadéma’s primary motive for holding the Summit is to receive aid from Israel to neutralize the terrorism threats Africa is currently facing. He emphasized that the Summit aims to “unite the efforts undertaken against the threat on peace and security, which undermines stability and slows down the development of the continent.” For Israel, the Summit was a means for the country to forge new diplomatic alliances, which are necessary to the replace the ones it lost throughout its illegal settlement building in Palestine. Netanyahu’s motto for the summit is as follows:“Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel.” Due to much of the African public refusing to support the potential alliance, when the postponement of the Africa-Israel Summit was declared, a Hamas political bureau member, Izzat al Risheq, stated it was “a victory for humanitarian values and its defenders.”

Meanwhile, due to the amount of political unrest in Togo, it was absolutely necessary to halt the Summit in order to cease the rebellions. With that said, the amount of public opposition to the Africa- Israel Summit demonstrates that it is urgent for Eyadéma to reflect on his decision to enter the diplomatic relationship. Africa may incur negative repercussions if it were to engage in such an alliance, including being seen as supporting Israel’s crimes against Palestine, which may anger several African countries and its allies in the Middle East.

Furthermore, in the past, Africa and Israel have experienced political tensions, thereby making it almost impossible for the countries to engage in a risk-free alliance today. Traditionally, North Africa and the Middle East had a close relationship as both have Muslim Arab majorities. As a result, several African countries are highly resentful of Israel’s treatment of Palestine. Indeed, throughout Israel’s occupation on the west bank of Palestine, there was evidence of war crimes, including attacks on Pakistani civilians, residential neighbourhoods, and schools. Additionally, Israeli soldiers, police, and Israel Security Agency (ISA) officers have been found to subject Palestinian detainees, including children, to torture and other forms of persecution.

Nonetheless, in spite of the development aid, economic cooperation, and anti-terrorism know-how Israel is offering Africa, Eyadéma must rethink entering into diplomatic relations with them due to the recent crimes that Israel committed against a close ally. Diplomatic relations with Israel could reflect badly on Africa, as Africa could be considered to be legitimizing Israel’s crimes against Palestine. In response, angry civilians have already begun to speak up in mass protests and have threatened to become louder if Eyadéma continues to overlook the negative repercussions that could result as a consequence of the political relationship.

Hannah Barter-Konecny