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African nations divided on support for Israel, Palestine but call for peace

African leaders were divided Saturday after war broke out between Israel and Palestine when the Palestinian group Hamas, considered by Israel to be terrorists, sought to assert its right to Palestinian land and push back against a history of Israeli aggression. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI
African leaders were divided Saturday after war broke out between Israel and Palestine when the Palestinian group Hamas, considered by Israel to be terrorists, sought to assert its right to Palestinian land and push back against a history of Israeli aggression. Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 7 (UPI) -- African leaders were divided Saturday after war broke out between Israel and Palestine when the Palestinian group Hamas, considered by Israel to be terrorists, sought to assert its right to Palestinian land and push back against a history of Israeli aggression.

Some African leaders have not yet remarked on the conflict but, of those who did, they seemed torn between sympathy for Palestinians facing Israeli occupation and criticism of Hamas "terrorism" for its surprise rocket attack on Saturday.

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African countries have long been subject to Western occupation and conflict, which largely showed in their responses to the situation in the Middle East.

Algeria's Foreign Ministry in a statement did not reference the Hamas attack yet condemned "the brutal Israeli attack on Gaza" which claimed the lives of "innocent sons and daughters of the Palestinian people who fell as martyrs under the persistence of the Israeli occupation."

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Algeria accused Israel of practices that "violate the most basic humanitarian rules" and called for an international intervention "to protect the Palestinian from the arrogance and crime that the Zionist occupation has made a feature of its occupation of the lands."

"Algeria also renews its conviction that the Zionist settler-occupation has created an enemy of conflict and that ending the misfortunes, scourges and tragedies resulting from this conflict undoubtedly lies in responding to the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people and enabling it to establish its independent state on the 1967 borders with its capital, Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem)."

The Tunisian Presidency said in a statement that it expressed "its full and unconditional stand with the Palestinian people."

"What some media describe as the Gaza enclave is Palestinian land that has been under Zionist occupation for decades, and it is the right of the Palestinians to take it back and to take back all Palestinian land," The Tunisian Presidency said. "Palestine also has the right to establish its independent state and its capital Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem)."

The Tunisian Presidency drew attention to what it called massacres of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank and said the world should not forget the "hundreds of thousands" who have been forced to leave their homes and whose lands have been taken from them by Israelis.

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"Tunisia also calls on the international community to bear its historical responsibilities to put an end to the gross occupation of all Palestine and to assist the Zionist occupation forces in violating the rights of the Palestinian people in complete defiance of all religious laws and human values," the statement reads.

On the other hand, Félix Tshisekedi, the president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, expressed "solidarity" with Israel said the countries remain "united to fight terrorism in all its forms."

William Ruto, the president of Kenya, similarly joined in "solidarity" for Israel in comments on Twitter.

"Kenya strongly maintains that there exists no justification whatsoever for terrorism, which constitutes a serious threat to international peace and security. All acts of terrorism and violent extremism are abhorrent, criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of the perpetrator, or their motivations," Ruto said.

"The international community must mobilize to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financiers, sponsors, supporters and enablers of these reprehensible criminal acts of terrorism to account and speedily bring them to justice."

Meanwhile, Moussa Faki Mahamat -- the chair of the Commission of the African Union -- took a more measured approach but did emphasize that the "main cause" of the conflict is the "denial of the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, particularly that of an independent and sovereign State."

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"The chairperson urgently appeals to both parties to put an end to military hostilities and to return, without conditions, to the negotiating table to implement the principle of two States living side by side, to safeguard the interests of the Palestinian people and the Israeli people," the statement reads.

"The chairperson further calls on the international community, and the major world powers in particular, to assume their responsibilities to impose peace and guarantee the rights of the two peoples."

Others that took a more neutral stance include Nigeria, which warned that the "cycle of violence and retaliation" will case "an unending cycle of pain" for the civilian populations of both parties.

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