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Africa solidarity is a 'pillar of Palestinian struggle'

Senior Hamas leader says Palestinians depend on African allies for symbolic support in their struggle against Israel.

Senior Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk

Senior Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzouk has praised African states for the solidarity they have shown Palestinians in their fight against Israeli occupation.

In an opinion piece he wrote for South Africa's Mail and Guardian newspaper, Abu Marzouk called on African states and political parties to reject attempts to normalise relations with Israel.

The deputy chairman of Hamas' political bureau said Africans and Palestinians were brought together by a shared history of fighting colonial powers. 

"The Palestinian people now look to South Africa and Africa for support in our struggle against settler colonialism and apartheid," he wrote.

"African and Palestinian liberation movements have long stood in mutual solidarity for self-determination, while Israel has consistently supported colonial and neo-colonial powers on the continent."

Israel was a close ally of South Africa under apartheid rule, and the two countries cooperated in developing the other's nuclear weapons programme

South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has held historically close ties to Palestinian groups, whose struggle they saw mirrored in their own. 

The party is set debate a recommendation to downgrade ties with Israel over its treat of Palestinians. 

In recent years, Israel has increased its efforts to make diplomatic inroads into the country by working alongside African states on issues such as agricultural development and security.

Earlier this week, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, was in Kenya, where he asked Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to help Israel obtain observer status within the African Union. 

Nevertheless, Abu Marzouk said he was confident African states could be relied upon to help isolate Israel for its actions towards the Palestinians.

"Africa's solidarity is a major pillar in our struggle. 'Constructive engagement' (with Israel) has no place in this solidarity; we depend on our African allies to support our resistance by isolating Israeli apartheid."

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