African leaders have called for an end to the deadly clashes in the Israel-Gaza conflict that erupted on 7 October when the Palestinian Hamas militant group initiated a surprise assault.
The African Union (AU) emphasized in statements in both French and English that the confrontations were driven by the “denial of fundamental rights to the Palestinian people, particularly their right to an independent and sovereign state.”
“The chairperson urgently appeals to both parties to cease military hostilities and return, unconditionally, to the negotiation table to implement the principle of two States coexisting peacefully, safeguarding the interests of both the Palestinian and Israeli peoples,” stated AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki.
Israel has previously expressed interest in participating in AU meetings as an observer, which has sparked some controversy.
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni also urged the warring parties to embrace the “two-state solution” in a statement on 7 October, expressing regret over the violence.
Mr. Museveni had previously hosted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2016 and 2020 in an attempt to improve relations between the two nations. The Ugandan leader also played a role in normalizing relations between Israel and Sudan in 2020.
However, Sudan’s foreign ministry sided with the Palestinians in response to the renewed confrontations.
“Sudan is following with concern the dangerous developments currently taking place in occupied Palestine. Sudan reaffirms its support for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to have their independent state. It calls for adherence to international resolutions and the protection of innocent civilians,” stated a release on the Facebook page of the state news agency Suna.
South Africa called for an “immediate ceasefire.”
“The region is in desperate need of a credible peace process that aligns with the numerous previous UN resolutions advocating for a two-state solution and a just and comprehensive peace between Israel and Palestine,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) stated on its official Facebook page on 7 October.
Meanwhile, Nigeria cautioned that “the cycle of violence and retaliation that the current escalation has assumed only serves to perpetuate an unending cycle of pain and suffering for the civilian population, who bear the brunt of every conflict.”
Kenya’s President William Ruto urged the warring parties to de-escalate as “casualties continue to rise.”
“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,” he emphasized.
Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Stanley Kakubo expressed support for Israel in condemning the Hamas attacks.
“We strongly condemn the recent attacks on Israel, which have regrettably resulted in the loss of lives. We unequivocally denounce all acts of aggression and violence, and continue to emphasize the necessity of pursuing diplomatic means to resolve international conflicts,” he declared.