The Angolan government has fired two of its senior diplomats for attending a gala dinner celebrating the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, according to the Afro-Palestine Newswire Service.
The event, hosted in Tel Aviv by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week, was attended by Manuel Augusto Jao Diogo Fortunato, a senior adviser in the Angolan Embassy, with the approval of Angola’s Director for African, Middle East and Regional Organisations, Joaquim do Espirito Santo.
On Monday, Angolan media reported that Fortunato and Santo had both been fired by Angola’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Manuel Augusto, for “failing to comply with procedures and harming Angola’s good reputation.”
Fortunato was one of 12 African envoys who attended the event, including Rwanda, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Israel has economic ties with many nations on the continent, primarily based on arms sales, weapons which are often used to commit human rights violations by armed groups or dictatorial regimes.
The states whose delegations attended faced criticism from activists for betraying Africa’s longstanding support of the Palestinian people.
“We are very disappointed at African countries which had celebrated the declaration of Jerusalem as the official capital city of Israel by the USA. That is the highest form of betrayal because us as Africans should know that colonialism and imperialism have no place in humanity,” South African MP and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema told reporters.
However, Angola has previously taken a stand against Israeli occupying policies, voting in favour of the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements built in the Palestinian territories in 2016. In response, Israel moved to stop foreign assistance to Angola and also closed an international aid agency it operates in the country which brought Angolans to Israel to gain exposure to advanced agricultural and manufacturing technology.
Israel has attempted to strengthen ties with African nations over the past year in an effort to garner support outside of its traditional Western allies and trade partners. In 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the continent, pledging to deepen trade and security relations, and announced that Israel sought to join the African Union.
Netanyahu has also stated on multiple occasions that he seeks to use the support of the continent to debunk the traditional anti-Israel traditional majority in international organisations such as the UN, and weaken the instinctive sympathy for Palestine in Africa.