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State must be wary of dealing with Israel’s Prime Minister

By Billow Kerrow | July 10th 2016

Kenyans expressed their profound horror on the extra-judicial killings of lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and taxi man Joseph Muiruri through nationwide protests. The blatant impunity with which our security agencies execute innocent Kenyans was unreservedly condemned as the nation came to terms with the reality of the rule of the jungle that citizens are sometimes subjected to.

For the Muslim community, extra-judicial killings and inhuman treatment of suspects have become nearly routine under the guise of war on terror. Police executions have no justification, and certainly should have no place in this country. Once we allow it in a part of this country, or on a section of our society, it will become the norm.

But as Kenyans agitated for action against the culprits, the Government was busy entertaining Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose government has perfected the art of extra-judicial killings. It was saddening to see our President express unreserved admiration for a man whose policies of brutality and blatant slaughter of Palestinians has isolated his nation in recent years.

In the July 2014 attack on Gaza, his government killed over 2,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, including nearly 500 children, and wounded over 14,000 including thousands of children. Over 20,000 homes, including UN-run schools were destroyed and a million people displaced in less than 50 days as Netanyahu used every weapon in his arsenal to brutally destroy Gaza, still under a blockade. Seventy-three Israelis were killed in the 50-day war, mostly soldiers, but the devastation of occupied Palestinian territory galvanised the International Criminal Court to start preliminary investigations into possible war crimes.

Netanyahu was in Africa to look for support in the UN. Isolated by Israeli’s friends in the West due to his belligerent behaviour and stalling of the peace process, Netanyahu was charming our countries on the first trip by an Israeli leader to Africa since 1987. According to New York Times, Netanyahu “cruised around the capital of Kenya with Israeli executives, hoping to sell everything from plastic wraps, sprinklers and irrigation pipes, to CCTV cameras, software and military equipment. But he was on the lookout for something more precious — the UN votes.” The paper said Israel runs 10 small embassies in sub-Saharan Africa with low-key development ties such as “sending Kenyan students to study farming in Israel, or helping Tanzanian beekeepers make more honey”.

Most African countries, including Kenya, have supported the right of Palestinians to their own state through many UN resolutions, and unreservedly condemn the Israel government for its ‘apartheid’ style treatment and occupation of Palestinians. Last year, Uhuru visited Israel without paying a visit to the Palestinians, as is usually the case with most international leaders, eliciting a protest from Palestinians.

Our President now says he will help Israel gain a “foothold in Africa” and push for it to be granted “an observer status” in the AU. We will be repeating a historical mistake when Kenya comprised its African position by supporting the apartheid regime in South Africa, following in the footsteps of Israel, which was historically an ally of the apartheid regime.

Netanyahu regime is also reportedly shopping for a home in Eastern Africa for some 40,000 unwanted African immigrants in his country, not just business and votes. Kenya must not again allow itself to be the lapdog of a racist regime. As South African icon Nelson Mandela said, “our freedom is not complete without the freedom of the Palestinian people”. Let's be on the right side of history, for once.

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