Quarterly Updates for (16 May 2017 — 15 Aug 2017)

Israeli PM Netanyahu continued his outreach efforts in Africa this quarter. On the sidelines of an Economic Community of West African States summit in Liberia on 6/4, he met with Senegalese pres. Macky Sall, and they agreed to resume full diplomatic relations. Senegal, like New Zealand, backed UNSCR 2334 in 12/2016, prompting Israel to withdraw its amb. from Dakar. According to Netanyahu’s office, Sall promised to back Israel’s bid for observer status in the African Union, resume joint projects suspended after the UNSC vote, and expand cooperation on security and agriculture. Israel pledged to send its amb. back to Dakar. While Netanyahu was in Liberia, he met with the leaders of 9 other African countries. “The purpose of this trip is to dissolve this majority, this giant bloc of 54 African countries that is the basis of the automatic majority against Israel in the UN and international bodies,” the Israeli PM said (6/4). “Israel is returning to Africa in a big way.”

Senegal and Guinea then sent their first-ever ambs. to Israel on 8/8. Talla Fall of Senegal was to work out of Egypt, and Amara Camara of Guinea would be based in Paris. Guinea and Israel had agreed to renew diplomatic relations in 7/2016 (see JPS 46 [1]).

Israel’s new outreach program wasn’t entirely successful, however. South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress (ANC), voted (7/4) to downgrade the country’s diplomatic presence in Israel from an embassy to an “interest office” in protest of the Israeli occupation. The ANC’s Western Cape branch called (7/5) it the “strongest and clearest position taken by the ANC in our history as a governing party.”