Abbas Calls For African Role In Peace Process
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has called for Africa to assume a role in an internationalized peace process with Israel. Speaking at a meeting of the African Union in Ethiopia, the Palestinian leader reportedly declared that, “pursuing peace efforts requires the establishment of a multilateral mechanism under the umbrella of the United Nations, and we call for the African Union and its member states to have representatives.” Abbas recently launched a diplomatic campaign to garner support for a more inclusive peace initiative after having disqualified Washington from its historical role as mediator of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations; this, in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The PA has effectively boycotted the White House since the December declaration, leading to an unprecedented crisis in relations which has included a cut-off of American aid to the UN agency that attends to Palestinian refugees. Last week, Abbas traveled to Brussels to lobby European Union member states to help in establishing the multilateral forum, which might also include the likes of Russia and China. While African countries have long supported the Palestinians in international institutions, including the UN, Israel continues to make major diplomatic inroads in the continent. Over the past year, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has visited Africa twice and has repeatedly met with several African heads of state, all of whom are reportedly keenly interested in Israeli counter-terrorism know-how, advanced technology and the prospect of receiving financial and military aid from the Jewish state.