An African View
ZIONISM AND AFRICA
By Gora Ebrahim
Gora Ebrahim is a member of the ANC Central Committee
President Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire is reported (International Herald Tribune 4-12-81) to have said that his government was prepared to review diplomatic relations with Israel. He claimed in the report that Zaire "broke ties with Israel in 1973 in a show of support for Egypt and its lost territories," but now that the last of occupied Egyptian territory is scheduled to be returned in April 1982, the resumption of relations would not be a "difficult problem." However, whilst saying all this President Mobuto made an important proviso, namely that Zaire "will take no action (to restore diplomatic relations) until other Black African nations take a stand."
The fact that President Mobuto was specifically asked about this question and the report that the Zionist Defence Minister Sharon recently made a secret visit to some African countries, is an indication that the Zionists are desperately trying to make a political comeback in Africa and would employ everything at their disposal to ensure the success of this campaign. This is no longer a secret.
In this stepped-up "comeback" campaign the Zionists are employing a three-pronged attack. The first line of attack is through the United States. The Zionists have openly asked the Reagan Administration to "use its influence" in certain African countries to pressurise them into reestablishing diplomatic relations with Israel. This pressure, needless to say is being exerted.
Secondly, the Zionists are pressing the newly incumbent socialist government in France to use its influence in the former colonies in Africa. Since the new socialist government in France has pro-Zionist leanings, there can be no doubt that it will "talk" to some of the pro-French African States.
Thirdly, the Zionists are making direct contacts with some African states with exaggerated promises of financial and military assistance.
The immediate question that comes to mind is whether this campaign has any chance of succeeding?
The fact that President Mobuto went out of his way to make it clear that any resumption of diplomatic relations would have to be a collective African decision, from the very outset sounds the death-knell of the Zionist campaign.
Although President Mobuto claims that he broke ties with Israel in 1973 to "show support for Egypt and its lost territories", the collective African decision to first condemn, and then call for the severance of diplomatic and economic relations was not based on showing support for Egypt alone. It was more comprehensive and based on fundamental principles.
It will be recalled that the Organisation of African Unity's (O.A.U.) first direct involvement in the Arab-Zionist conflict was when it set up a committee at its 1970 Summit to try and find a peaceful solution to the Middle East crisis. The chairman of this committee was the former President of Senegal, Leopold Senghor. The committee, comprising several African Presidents, visited the Frontline Arab States and occupied Palestine. The conclusion this committee came to, and this is stated in its report, was that the Zionists did not appear willing to vacate the territories occupied in the 1967 Arab-Zionist war. This continued occupation and obvious expansionist tendency, the committee felt, would constitute a dangerous precedent if gone unchallenged. In this the Committee members were not only reiterating universally accepted norms and principles, but also the very real danger posed by the South African racists. In the name of so-called "secure borders" nothing would prevent the racists from militarily occupying neighbouring territories. The 1973 war, however, was the last straw which broke the camels back!
The fact that the Senghor-led Committee visited other countries besides Egypt is proof enough that from the outset the O.A.U. did not intend to confine its support only Egypt but to the very core of the Middle East conflict, namely the question of Palestine. That is why several African countries which severed ties with Israel following the 1967 war granted political recognition to the Palestine Liberation Organisation, as the sole legitimate representative of the dispossessed Palestinian people.
Today the PLO enjoys observer status at O.A.U. meetings and the granting of this status to the PLO signifies support to the just cause of the Palestinian people.
The O.A.U., therefore, has consistently viewed the Middle East conflict in its entirety and has never confined its support only to Egypt. There exists no O.A.U. document propounding this narrow sectarian view.
Moreover, there is a growing awareness among O.A.U. members of the close military, nuclear, political, economic, cultural and sporting links between racist South Africa and Zionist Israel. This is amply reflected in the various O.A.U. resolutions. These resolutions, therefore, show that besides the O.A.U's concern over the Middle East crisis, the O.A.U. is equally, if not more, concerned about the evergrowing nuclear, military and economic ties between these two racist entities.
In April 1976 John Vorster, the then racist Prime Minister of South Africa made a four-day visit to Israel. At a press conference in Jerusalem on April 12, Vorster announced the signing of an "Israeli-South African" agreement on "economic cooperation". Although they tried to deny that the agreement included military cooperation, the fact that South Africa's Defence Minister was to be a member of the ministerial joint committee set-up under the agreement, and that Vorster was allowed to tour "strategic" areas in Israel, including the naval base at Sharm-el-Sheikh where he boarded a Zionist made Reshef warship equipped with Gabriel sea-to-sea missiles, as well as the aircraft factory where the Kfir jet was being built, confirms the crucial military alliance concluded between the two racist entities. Moreover, it is an open secret that South Africa is building Reshef class warships under licence and that the Zionists are equipping them with Gabriel missiles.
The Zionist-racist agreement of 1976 was based on the exchange of Zionism arms and know-how for South African strategic materials in three clearly defined areas: conventional arms trade, nuclear collaboration and the sharing of Zionist "quick strike experience in the field."
According to a press report Zionist military industries had over US $150 million in South African orders, including missiles, gunboats and fighter jets. Details on the sale to South Africa of 6 Reshef gunboats armed with Gabriel missiles, and the building of 6 Dabur coastal patrol boats in Durban, under licence from Israel were also confirmed.
Moreover, three Zionist companies - Tadiran, Elyit and I.A.I. - have been selling to South Africa equipment for the electronic "wall" namely electronic fences, anti-guerrilla infiltration alarm systems, communication systems and computer night-vision devices. The Zionists, at the same time are supplying the racists with 105 mm self-propelled howitzers, air-to-air rockets and anti-tank missiles for infantrymen. In June 1976, a Knesset member Mercia Freedom revealed that hundreds of Zionist soldiers were attached to South African army units as instructors and participants in training manoeuvres. In 1978, the New York Times commented that 5,000 Zionists had "migrated" to South Africa with "useful military skills and in June 1980, the London Sunday Telegraph reported that "volunteers" from Israel, Britain and while were serving with South African troops against Namibian freedom fighters in Namibia. In the last three years General Haim Bar-Lev, major General Alaron Yariv, Lieut. General Mordechai Gur, General Chaim Herzog and Ezer Weizmann have all visited apartheid South Africa "to discuss security matters."
By far the most omenous of all manifestations of Zionist-racist collaboration to have emerged over the five years since 1976 is in the nuclear field. Zionist technology was exchanged for South African enriched uranium. There is conclusive evidence that seven Zionist nuclear scientists are working at the University of Witwatersrand.
In September 1978 an explosion took place in the south Atlantic Ocean which was monitored by the United States VELA nuclear detection satellite. According to a report compiled by the British television programme "World in Action", the explosion was an Israeli-South African developed nuclear shell which can be delivered by a South African howitzer made from United States and Belgian components. At a range of up to 30 km it would kill unprotected human beings 100 metres from impact.
Moreover, economic co-operation between the two racist entities is fundamentally strategic and has three crucial elements:
Firstly, South African raw and strategic materials (particularly steel, coal and enriched uranium) dominate Pretoria's export to Israel, while technical expertise and military equipment and weapons in turn dominate Israel's exports to South Africa.
Secondly, particularly through joint investment projects, the Zionists are providing South African manufacturing industry with a channel for evading international boycotts of South African goods, especially in Africa, and also for penetrating the immensely profitable market of the European Economic Community (EEC) by the back door;
Thirdly, special trade credits, relaxation of the export of capital, income tax arrangements and favourable government contracts.
The real importance of Israeli-South African trade links was stressed by South Africa's most influential economic periodical, the Financial Mail, which pointed out in 1970 that:
(a) "together with Switzerland, Israel is South Africa's fastest growing trade partner;"
(b) if uncut diamonds and undisclosed defence force purchases are taken into account, Israel is already one of South Africa's biggest trading partners;"
(c) "after 1981 South African sales to Israel would likely top R1 billion over US $1.25 billion); and;
(d) Israel "is ideal for joint manufacturing ventures and selective industrial investment, because it has a special relationship to the EEC and also exports a large variety of goods to the U.S. duty-free."
Thus it is obvious from the above facts that there exists very close cooperation between racist South Africa and Zionist Israel and the basic aim of this unholy alliance is to fight the national liberation movements in Africa, Namibia and occupied Palestine.
Since the O.A.U. is committed to the liberation of Namibia and Azania, the two last bastions of colonialism on the African continent, it can only ignore Zionist-racist cooperation at its own peril. Moves by the O.A.U. to have economic sanctions imposed on the racists will come to nothing if the link between Pretoria and Tel Aviv is not carefully studied and resolutely fought. The same applies with the arms embargo.
Given the fact that both are racist entities based on the dispossession of the indigenous population by alien settler minorities the fight against apartheid must, of necessity, include the struggle against Zionism, for both are two sides of the same coin. Consequently it is unconceivable how the O.A.U. can reverse its stand against Zionism which it took in the past... rather it is more national to further strengthen its support to the just struggle of the Palestinian people. It is this support and cooperation that will ensure the final defeat of apartheid and Zionism - the two ideologies declared repugnant to human conscience by the international community.
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Originally published by The Palestine Liberation Organisation Unified Information as a bi-monthly information bulletin with copy permission granted via the notice "Partial or total reproduction is freely permitted by 'Palestine Bulletin'"
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