Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation
Justice, Peace, Integrity<br /> of Creation

Between Israel and Palestine

Mundo Negro 11.12.2023 J. Ignacio Castro Torres Translated by: Jpic-jp.org

Sub-Saharan Africa has traditionally been burdened by conflicts in other global regions and this time was no exception. Until recently, relations in the Middle East seemed to be improving and specifically with regard to relations between the Arab world and Israel, it appeared that the Abraham Accords would bring this large area to a new position that could foster prosperity.

All of this was blown to bits when Hamas launched an attack on Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip on 7th October 2023. The images were truly chilling, both for the number of deaths and the cruelty suffered by the victims. Within days, the Israel Defence Forces carried out a powerful military operation in Gaza, and images of civilians and installations that have been affected by the Israeli armed incursion began to appear on social media.

Sub-Saharan Africa, full of outward-looking sensitivities, was bound to suffer in some way. The political regimes in this African geographic area have certain affinities that are accentuated by global events, making them to act as a transmission belt to the societies they administer with greater or lesser success.

On this occasion, the affinities with Israel have come from the Kenyan government and, to a certain extent, from Ghana, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Meanwhile, South Africa has sided with the Palestinians because of its traditional affinity with their cause. On 21st November 2023, the South African parliament approved the closure of the Israeli embassy in the country and the severing of diplomatic relations with Israel. A few days earlier, the Minister of the Presidency, Khumbudzo-Ntsahavheni, had said: "a genocide on the watch of the international community cannot be tolerated " [what led South Africa to accuse Israel before the International Court of Justice]. Other countries such as Nigeria appear to take neutral positions. At the level of continental organisations, the African Union, also seemed to take a relatively neutral position; however, it ended up siding with the Palestinians after the explosions at the Al-Ahli hospital that caused hundreds of casualties.

In a region where terrorist groups are replacing state action over vast territories, it is more than possible that there will be "solidarity attacks" by a number of such groups, mainly those who wish to demonstrate their closeness to the Palestinian cause. As a result, organisations affiliated with al-Qaeda will need to be watched closely for their affinity with the Hamas group. Although groups affiliated with Daesh do not have the same tendency, they could take advantage of the situation to destabilise the environment in order to obtain benefits.

A significant part of the African population can easily become polarised. They are faced with a socio-cultural situation in which inter-community division, clashes between herders and farmers, peasants and urban people, or animists, Christians and Muslims, gives an idea of how the fragile coexistence in many areas can be destroyed or fuel the fire of conflict in others. These clashes are more than enough to burden the aching backs of African peoples, so they should not find in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict a new source of controversy, but rather a humanitarian concern for other peoples who suffer as they do.

However, the inflammatory speeches by certain religious and social leaders have already begun to heat up the population. At this point, polarising positions on the conflict have begun to emerge, with the underlying causes being the divisions described above. The question remains as to what will happen when Palestinian casualties rise dramatically as a result of Israeli military intervention.

In this environment, social media will play a crucial role, given the vulnerability of the African population to disinformation, fake news and limited capacities to combat hoaxes of all kinds.

To make matters worse, the situation could destabilise the precarious economies of African countries, although an initial distinction should be made between those that possess energy resources and those that do not. In this respect, the high oil prices before the start of the Gazan crisis must be taken into consideration, to which has been added an increase of around 5 % so far. While some states may benefit from this price increase, many others will see their economies negatively impacted. 

What is clear from the economic perspective is that the global risk situation will significantly increase credit prices, on which many African countries are dependent.

Another aspect to be assessed will be the impact on foreign investment caused by the conflict. As for Israel, it is more than likely that the strain the Gaza crisis is putting on it will divert budget allocations in a different direction than already planned. Meanwhile, African states that have been critical of Israel's attitude are likely to see economic disaffection on the part of Israel, while other even though inclined to be critical will seek to maintain trade relations and investment to the extent that possibilities allow.

The humanitarian field is particularly significant in sub-Saharan Africa, considering that the situation was already complicated enough with the Ukrainian issue as a new crisis scenario. The overall problem has been greatly exacerbated by the displacement of many of Gaza's inhabitants to avoid falling victim to the fighting. The Gazan humanitarian crisis is demanding a great deal of resources of all kinds, and these are already very limited. The global redistribution of aid between endemic and emerging scenarios is forcing a series of trade-offs for all actors involved, which is surely already having an impact on the southern African region.

One could conclude that in a global and interconnected world, no events can take place in isolation. Equally, in this tangle of actors, variables and relationships, the chain of well-being will always break at the weakest link. One of these global links is located in sub-Saharan Africa, due to its diplomatic, political, economic and social conditions. In this context, the current situation of the conflict between Israel and Hamas may constitute an accelerator of the crises in which the region is embroiled.  

See, Entre Israel y Palestina - Mundo Negro


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