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Saturday, 13 April, 2002, 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
Middle East: What should African countries do?
There have been street protests in several African countries against Israel's current actions in the West Bank.

Last week an estimated one million protesters marched in the centre of the Moroccan capital, Rabat, to denounce Israel's military intervention in the region.

Protesters have also taken to the streets in Sudan, Uganda and Mali.

Israel sent troops and tanks into Palestinian-controlled cities in the West Bank on 29 March, following a suicide bombing that killed 27 people at the start of the Jewish Passover holiday.

Although it has begun to withdraw troops from the towns of Qalqilya and Tulkarm in the northern West Bank, the Israeli army is still operating in the cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus and Jenin.

Do you feel that the Israelis are justified in their actions? What do you think the reaction of African countries should be to events in the Middle East?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction


The tension in the region is a result of ageless conflict

Afolabi O.O., Nigeria
The response of most African countries and section of countries in multi-ethnic situations should be expected to have religious undertone but really the matter in the Middle East is not like this. The tension in the region is a result of ageless conflict which unfortunately remains unresolved till now. Africans should call for peace and tolerance in the region. Any campaign to support violence in demonstrating solidarity for any of the parties involved is a deception, for which many have turned religion to a very potent tool.
Afolabi O.O., Nigeria

The Israelis have every right on this God given earth to defend themselves. I cannot understand why the Palestinians send their children on suicide missions. I bet those in charge will never send their own children on these missions. Instead they prey on poor Palestinians to and make them the so-called Martyrs. The Israeli invasion of Palestine will save those innocent children in the future. The reaction of Africa to this crisis should be the same as those of the Arabs to Africa. Lip service. Before 1967 when Africa broke up diplomatic relations with Israel in solidarity with their so-called brothers, all Africa got was expensive oil. The Arabs are only Africans when they need the help of African countries in the International arena.
Cillaty Daboh, USA/Sierra Leone


We feel the suffering and the pain of both Israeli and Palestinian people.

Daniel Tesfaye, Ethiopia
No one knows the cost of war and instability better than Ethiopians. We feel the suffering and the pain of both Israeli and Palestinian people. It would be nice for the leaders of both people to stop this madness and come to a solution for a lasting peace. and the world should condemn any form of terrorism whether it's organized or individual. It's not only the defenceless Palestinians who are in the act of terrorism, it's the Israeli government too. Unjustified occupation of the Palestinians land is no less of terrorism. the only difference is, this is state sponsored. Please stop the madness and come to the round table.
Daniel Tesfaye, Ethiopia

I think the Israelis are justified in their actions! Israel is retaliating against the violence the Palestinians continue to throw their way, after all you do not hear of Israelis strapping bombs to their chests and killing people.
Fola Osuntokun, Nigeria

Africa countries should condemn those who sponsor suicide bombing. The bulk of the blame though should be heaped on the Israel government that has dotted Palestinian land with settlements, and that metes out collective punishment to Palestinians for the acts of a few. That practice was condemned when it was used by the Germans during WWII. It would be hypocritical for most African governments to condemn either party because they treat their own people worse than the Israelis and Palestinians treat each other.
V. Nyakairu, USA

There is no moral justification for terrorism anywhere; neither in Israel, nor in Palestine, neither in South America, nor Africa. But poverty frustration, and hopelessness create void that is easily filled with anger and senseless rage. Middle-east needs prayers for peace to come to that region, therefore the world, including Africa needs to get involved, constructively though. Enough of bombing and killing; enough of ugly words of hatred. When teenage girls turn their bodies into deadly explosives, and trained soldiers point their weapons and shoot at innocent journalists, it shows frustration on both sides. May peace come to the Middle-East, and the world in general. Please let each side exercise restraint and spare the lives of innocent journalists. The stress of the job itself is enough already.
Godwin Nwaogwugwu, Nigeria/USA


Africans should condemn any new forms of apartheid and oppression.

Nsambila Cecilio Mbolela, Chicago-USA
Whether Israelis or Arabs helped Africans after independence is not the issue. The issue is Africans should condemn Israel for its excess use of force and for its occupation tactics on the Palestinians. Unlike the rest of the world that has done nothing to condemn Israel's occupation of Palestinian areas, Africans should condemn any new forms of apartheid and oppression.
Nsambila Cecilio Mbolela, Chicago-USA

African countries are not qualified to comment at all. Israel is wrong but for the right reason. They are committing crimes to protect their own people. It is the method that is not right. But for the Africans they are worse. They commit crimes against their own people. That is why the African leaders have not commented. They have no right to point a finger at anyone.
Steve Mwali, Zimbabwe

The state Israel is a friend of Africa. When the US Embassy in Kenya was bombed by terrorist the Israelis experts and rescue missions jetted in to help Kenyans in the hour of need. That is hard to forget, on the other hand I personally feel for the Palestinians but they must understand that bombing cafes and discotheque isn't the solution for their thirst for independence.
Boniface Karumbi, Norway

I don't think Africans should react based on who did or did not help them during their liberation struggle. In my opinion they should try to fix their position with regard to Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on what is moral or not, even though that is hard to expect from African leaders. At least the African community should take their own judgement. As an African I think Africa should be as cautious as possible, as the conflict is beyond Israel and Palestine.
Latii Odaa, Oromia/Horn of Africa


In African culture you do not keep punching a man you have already thrown to the ground.

Sango, Cameroon
To start with, the majority of Africans have no preference between Jews and Palestinians (if you exclude the Arab north). For the village African, it is a battle in which one group of people is beating up the other mercilessly and no one seems interested in stopping the fight. In this sense, the Africans also know that America is the only guy capable of stopping the fight but has chosen to take sides. In African culture you do not keep punching a man you have already thrown to the ground. Israel is doing that, and that is perceived as wrong. As for the suicide bombers, I don't think the Africans understand how one can sacrifice one's life for a cause. They see it as the utmost desperation which they themselves do not have in their culture. They don't understand it. Politicians may read scripts, but the average African is not on Israel┐s corner on this. I think Africa should say what Africa feels. If you enter a village and capture the chief, round up the men, you are the aggressor. That is how we view it.
Sango, Cameroon

I am not African, but I have studied Israeli-African relations for many years. Let's not forget that Israel heavily aided many African nations when they first became independent, only to have ties broken off for Arab nations brandishing the weapon of oil. Unlike Saudi Arabia which took Idi Amin and Libya which supported Bokassa, Israel has given practical aid rather than weapons and slavish support to dictators. The African community, which helped brand Zionism as racism in the United Nations, should think twice before blackening Israel again.
David, USA

I think that the Israelis are not justified in their actions and should withdraw immediately. The reaction of African countries must be to help Palestinians return to their country and stop Israeli settlements.
Sqalli Abderrahman, Morocco

I think it is imperative that all African countries come together as one to support the cause of the Palestinians. The struggle of the Palestinians was the struggle of many African countries not too long ago, as African nations wrestled with their colonizers for their basic and fundamental freedom and independence. African states must exhibit their sense of morality and justice by showing their support for the Palestinian who are being crushed by the brutal and illegal regime of Israel. If Africa does not support the Palestinians then I believe it undermines Africa's past struggles with apartheid and colonization.
Frank Yeboah, USA


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07 Apr 02 | Africa
07 Apr 02 | Middle East
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