South Africa has emerged as a leading opponent of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s policy of African outreach, declaring a boycott on an upcoming summit in Togo aimed at advancing cooperation with Israel.
A senior South African diplomat was quoted by Arutz Sheva on Sunday as saying that his country is against the Israeli initiative in Africa because it is “designed to normalize the relations between the African countries and a country whose sole concern is the occupation of another people.”
“We can not turn a blind eye to the Israeli efforts to enlist support from Africa and elsewhere in order to undermine the Palestinian cause,” the official said, adding that his country will be urging its neighbors to follow suit.
Several Muslim nations, including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania, have also expressed their opposition to improving ties with Israel.
In response, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said: “Israel’s return to Africa is a strategic move led by the Prime Minister which we are involved in. We know that there are countries hostile to Israel who are trying to prevent this, and we believe that the will and effort of the Israelis will persevere and we will be able to realize our plans in cooperation with the countries of Africa.”
In addition, Netanyahu has repeatedly stated that his intention is to enlist the support of friendly African states to break the automatic anti-Israel majority at the U.N.
Last week, Cape Verde’s apparent reversal of its decision to support Israel in the U.N. was attributed at the time by Netanyahu to pressure from other countries.