By Mohammad Mahdi Mohtajabi
Tehran Times: “These countries, in particular, are playing a negative role in the normalization of relations with Israel.” Said the senior board member and spokesperson of “Africa for Palestine.”
“South Africans have very strong relations with different Palestinian liberation movements since the 1970s, to help bring about an end to the occupation.” He added.
Q: Firstly, as a South African, how do you relate to the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation and apartheid?
A: There are many similarities between the South African struggle and the Palestinians struggle first. The struggle against the set of colonial regimes, in our case, it became what was then termed in an apartheid state. In the case of Israel is also the same with any analogy. But we clearly identify very much with the experiences of the Palestinian people, and that is said like colonial and the apartheid regime. In many ways worse than what we experienced in South Africa.
Secondly, we as South Africans have very strong relations with different Palestinian liberation movements since the 1970s, to help bring about an end to the occupation. The struggle of the Palestinian people is our own struggle in many ways. South African regime (then apartheid regime) and the Israeli apartheid regime have been working, handling club for many years. You know, these are declassified information that they have cooperated with South African apartheid on a nuclear bomb, of course, that corporation went further. they exchanged the policemen and soldiers, they’ve exchanged technologies. South Africa, then bought arms from the Israeli apartheid regime to help repress and suppress the African population in south Africa. There’s been deep cooperation between those two apartheid regimes. I mean, the struggle of the people of Palestine is our own struggle, and South Africa will never be free until Palestine is free. Essentially what we said was that the freedom of South Africa is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinian people. For us the Palestinian issue is a domestic South African issue.
Q: Many Africans had their own experience of living under colonial rule. How do you think the people of Africa in general feel towards the Palestinians fighting back against a settler-colonial occupation of their land?
A: Africa in many ways had experienced settler colonialism, also experienced classical forms of colonialism. Also, there are other countries, like Kenya, Namibia. Amongst the African people, the question of Palestine is unequivocally an issue that Africans have taken a principal position on hand.
As you know, since its establishment in 1963, the then Organization of African Unity had a very strong position on the Palestinian question and has remained consistent. In that regard, we’ve had a major setback recently by the actions of the Commission chair of the African Union, and it must be clear that these were the actions of the AU Commission Chair master who decided to accept the credentials and the Israeli ambassador to the African Union, without consultation with the member states who would have clearly rejected such an application as they have done in the past. They have called on a reversal of that decision by the AU Commission chairs.
Q: Why do you think the Moroccan government decided to normalize ties with the Israeli regime, something that the Moroccan public strongly oppose?
A: Well, it is a trend across the Middle East (West Asia) and North Africa, when these regimes have taken a position, they have aligned themselves with the U.S. On the other hand, there are geostrategic considerations, that I think we must be clear what we see is the emergence of a UAE, Saudi Arabia led axis, and this has spread, within North Africa, especially in Morocco, Sudan, and Egypt. So these countries in particular are playing a negative role in that regard, the normalization of relations with Israel. It is quite clearly a sellout position that the ordinary people in Morocco and Sudan, simply do not agree with.
In fact, it’s a sellout of the historic struggle and heroic struggle of those people, and Morocco and Sudan, -especially Sudan led by the military, which has tight links with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Clearly on a path of undermining the Palestinian struggle and essentially defining themselves outside of the African consensus on the question of Palestine.
They are clearly the only two countries that agree with normalization, in that sense in the context of the so-called Abraham accord.
Q: As you mentioned, it was not a representative government in Sudan who normalized relations with the regime in Tel Aviv. Can you please elaborate more on what you think prompted them to do that?
A: No, this happened during the time of the interim government of Sudan. now it is important to understand that the civilian portion of that government did not agree. We’re not in favor of normalization. However, it became clear that the military had taken a resolution that they would go ahead with the normalization. but there was the other factor as well, which played into it. Which was the so-called carrot and stick. The American government was dangling in front of the Sudanese. Sudan had been under sanctions for a very long time since the 1990s, sanctions that had strangled the country’s economy for years. And of course, that had been intensified during the 2000s, in the height of the war on terror. So, having gone through these difficulties uh, when they were told by the Americans, that we can lift the sanctions and normalize relations with you and reintegrate into the international community, and provided that they normalized relations with Sudan.
Citizens in Sudan, the very same people, the revolutionaries who toppled the government of Omar al-Bashir, protested against the normalization of relations with Israel. But then the government was under so much pressure, from both the (Persian) Gulf states, and the Americans themselves.
Q: From the normalization deals and the observer status at the African Union to the military equipment and spyware deals, it seems that the Zionist regime is seeking a stronger foothold in Africa. Why do you think that is and what should be done to change course?
A: This is typical of these types of regimes who have no approval for their projects. I mean, Israel has been and remains an apartheid state, in spite of the cohesive measures that it uses through the United States for the so-called normalization.
They seek approval from the international community to reintegrate themselves to enjoy some measure of legitimacy within the community of nations. This is no different from what the apartheid government did when it did its best to host World Cup games. This is exactly what the Israeli regime is trying to do.