Abbas, Nervous About Growing Israel-Africa Relations, Begs African Union for Support
His speech had little to do with Africa, and was filled with Israel-bashing.
Here are some excerpts:
It is my pleasure, dear brothers and friends, for your kind invitation to us to attend your esteemed summit, here in Addis Ababa, and I highly value the support your association and its member-states gives the state of Palestine in international forums. I hope for the continuation of this initial support and solidarity with the rights of our people to freedom, sovereignty and independence, and salvation from the Israeli occupation and its devastating effects on our people. And for help in leading a comprehensive, just and lasting peace which guarantees the independence of the state of Palestine, with its capital East Jerusalem, and to achieve living in peace and security with the state of Israel within the borders of June 1967.
…We commend your efforts against the face of terrorism, we express our full support to cooperate with your association and your nations to combat terrorism, which we condemn in all its forms in our region and everywhere in the world.
…The achievement of a just and comprehensive peace that we seek, through the two-state solution, is in danger, because Israel’s occupation means to undermine the chances of establishing an independent state of Palestine with its capital in East Jerusalem — by continuing its occupation and control of the land of the state of Palestine occupied since the year 1967, and the establishment of settlements, and the transfer of its own citizens to [settlements], which creates a one-state reality on the ground with an apartheid system imposed on the Palestinian people.
Here we emphasize that any prejudice to the status quo in the city of occupied East Jerusalem, and all the occupied Palestinian territories in 1967, would undermine the chances of achieving peace and laying the foundations of stability in our region.
The state of Israel is the occupying power in Palestine, it is still carrying on the same occupation, which was rejected by your predecessors — the top leaders of Africa — in the sixties and seventies of the last century, but they have increased their extreme and racist occupation and daily oppress the Palestinian people.
On this occasion, we thank and appreciation to all the members of the Security Council, particularly the African countries Senegal, Angola and Egypt which voted in favor of Resolution 2334, which condemns the settlements, and calls for suspending them as devastating to the two-state solution. And we urge the international community to work on the application of the protection of security and stability, and the chances of achieving peace in the our region. This will contribute to eliminate the forces of extremism and terrorism in our region and the world.
This is the most interesting part:
…We know very well that you have your interests, and that Israel is seeking to gain relationships with your countries.
But we ask you, dear friends and brothers, that this not be at the expense of the cause of the Palestinian people, and that as you stand with them over the past decades. [They are] still in need for cohesion of your positions and persistence in support, solidarity and support for Palestine, for the salvation from the obnoxious Israeli occupation.
Of course, Abbas lobbied against any sort of cooperation between Africa and Israel, and he realizes now that he has lost. So, instead, he is begging to maintain the solidly pro-Palestinian political positions of the African states, worried that he might lose that, too.
Abbas also offered help to African nations, although what he can actually offer is not clear.
One wonders what the African nations’ delegates think when they are subjected to another attempt by Palestinians to hijack a world forum for their own interests. Abbas paid lip service to Africa, but that was window dressing for the main point of this speech: Don’t become too pro-Israel.
Observers say that the official proceedings of the African Union summit have little to do with what actually happens there in closed-room meetings, so this was a symbolic victory for Abbas and it was practically meaningless.
I have some thoughts on that, for an upcoming post.