There has been huge unrest in Jerusalem, Israel over security measures. Israel’s installation of metal detectors caused an outbreak of violence that left many dead, both Palestinians and Israelis. Also, relations with neighbor Jordan have deteriorated after an Israeli security guard mistakenly shot and killed a Jordanian citizen and refused to apologize.
However, Israel has been improving relations with a number of countries, with many being Muslim-majority countries that previously had no diplomatic relations with Israel. Guinea and Senegal, which are both Muslim-majority countries in West Africa, upgraded their relations with Israel and appointed ambassadors for the first time. Israel renewed its relationship with Senegal after severing its ties to the country as well as aid due to Senegal’s co-sponsoring the UN’s resolution on Israeli settlements in 2016. Formal relations between Guinea and Israel have been renewed after 50 years. Guinea broke off relations with Israel in 1967 due to the six-day war.
Benjamin Nathegnue has looked to Africa for support as his leadership is increasingly criticized by many European leaders. Israel has organized an “Africa-Israel” summit to bolster economic and diplomatic relations with more than 20 countries. The event will be the first of its kind. The event has been boycotted by several African countries such as South Africa and Morocco.
Israel has improved its relations with Saudia Arabia which has surprised many and made for an unusual alliance. The new Saudia ruler, King Salman, has opted for close relations with Israel almost immediately after his accession to the throne. Saudi media, which is strictly governed by the government, has been showing a positive bias towards Israel when previously it was the opposite. King Salman launched a pro-Israel propaganda campaign in order to change nations view on Israel and counter previous government campaigns of the demonisation of Israel.
An Israeli news channel made history earlier this year in June when they aired a brief interview with Abed al-Hamid Hakim on the subject of the Qatari blockade. Abed al-Hamid Hakim is a Saudia policy speaker and had the interview in Jeddah, the commercial capital of Saudi Arabia. This is a first for Saudi Arabia and showed a closer relationship with Israel is the goal of the new Saudi ruler, as such an interview would never happen without the permission of the government.
Israel’s shift in policy seems to be a reaction to Western attitudes to Israel. Israel may also be trying to counter the effects of the BDS campaign that has started to achieve considerable success.
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