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Equatorial Guinea to move embassy as Israel mounts Africa inroads

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
According to the international law, East Jerusalem, is regarded as “occupied territory”, making all Jewish settlements there illegal.

Equatorial Guinea is set to relocate its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem al-Quds, becoming the second African country to join a very small number of states that have pledged to move their embassies to the occupied city.

The plan was announced by Guinea’s president Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, during his telephone conversation with Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday.

Mbasogo is the world’s longest-serving president who took power in a 1979 coup.

According to the Human Rights Watch, under President Mbasogo, “corruption, poverty, and repression of civil and political rights continued to undermine human rights in Equatorial Guinea”.

“Equatorial Guinea is a dictatorship; there is no democracy in the country. This is a country that does not respect human rights, does not respect the rule of law, tying its apron strings with another, which is Israel, which is practicing apartheid,” Ras Mubarak, a Ghanaian member of parliament, told Middle East Eye. 

Yotam Gidron, author of 'Israel in Africa', said, "While Israel has been working to persuade African countries to move their embassies to Jerusalem or, in the case of those countries with no diplomatic ties, to normalize them, I think that this specific announcement came as a surprise to many.”

In November, Malawi announced it would open a full embassy to Israel in the holy city, becoming the first African nation in decades to do so.

Equatorial Guinea's move comes almost four years after former US President Donald Trump officially declared the occupied city as Israel's capital.

The Israeli regime considers the holy city as its eternal capital. It occupied the east Jerusalem al-Quds in the Six-Day War of 1967, in a move not recognized internationally.

Israel’s ties with the African countries date back to the mid-1950s, with Ghana being the first country to establish diplomatic relations with the regime.

According to Israel’s Channel 13, Israeli commandos train local forces in more than a dozen African nations where Israeli arms exporters are accused of being complicit in war crimes.

The report named Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, South Africa, Angola, Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Ivory Coast and Ghana as among the African countries that Israel was seeking to stake out a niche.

Over the past few years, Netanyahu has traveled to several African states in a bid to convince them to stop voting against Israel at the United Nations.

Israel is also said to be seeking to take advantage of insurgency and Takfiri militancy gripping parts of Africa to sell advanced military equipment to conflict-ridden states in the continent.

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