By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – Namibia is not an enemy with Israel, despite its objection to the decision by the African Union (AU) Commission to grant the Middle Eastern state observer status at the continental body.
Namibia’s stance against the AU Commission decision on Israel has been criticized by local analysts that it’s against the country’s policy of “being friends to all, and enemy of none”.
Public policy analyst Dr Marius Kudumo has expressed that the policy creates a ‘moral and ethical dilemma’ for Namibia in executing its foreign policy.
The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation has come out strongly to defend its foreign policy position. “Namibia’s policy of “being friends to all, and enemy of none” does exist and does not create a moral and political dilemma in the execution of Namibia’s international relations policy at all, as alluded to,” says Penda Naanda, the international relations and cooperation executive director.
“The State of Israel is not an enemy to Namibia and cannot be treated as such,” Naanda said, adding that Namibia and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1994.
However, the government official stated that Namibia “will continue to support the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people against the Israeli occupation, and the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements at all multilateral fora. This does however not mean that Namibia would sever her diplomatic relations with Israel.”
He added that “Namibia is committed to the Middle East peace process, for a lasting settlement of the Palestinian issue. The focus should be on peaceful negotiations within the framework of UN resolutions. The establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its Capital, existing side-by-side with Israel, is the only way to achieve lasting peace and security in the Middle East.”
Namibia is among 17 African countries that have openly expressed their reservation against the Israel observer role at the AU. South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt have also expressed their opposition.