YASSER ARAFAT , THE SENEGALESE


At the end of the 1960s, Senegalese President Léopold Sédar Senghor issued a diplomatic passport to Yasser Arafat, to allow the PLO president to travel freely in Africa.

Senegalese President Macky Sall recently called for «a de-escalation» in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is necessary, he said, «that peace returns and that the healthy and serene discussions can be engaged between these two communities in the respect of the international law». Senegal has long supported the Palestinian cause, as history tells. And for proof: Yasser Arafat has, for several years, traveled with a Senegalese diplomatic passport.

It was when Léopold Sédar Senghor was the first head of state of independent Senegal that this support for Palestine began. Safwat Ibraghith, Ambassador of the Palestinian Authority to Senegal, said in 2017 that “Yasser Arafat was alongside the African people in the fight against the colonizers. He was there not only physically, but materially, militarily, to support by all means the peoples of Africa, and behind, this African dream of a unity and a unified African State where Africans enjoy their freedom, their wealth and independence ”.

The relationship between the president of the Organization for the Liberation of Palestine (PLO) and Senghor began in the late 1960s. Senghor, says Safwat Ibraghith, as a historical figure in Africa, “could not be insensitive to the presence of this Palestinian question. And those who animate them and who defend him were appreciably in this desire to know Yasser Arafat ”.

Palestine calls for boycott of Israeli products

It must be said that Senegal and Palestine had a common past, that of being colonized countries. “Senghor made a sign of support for Palestine after certain meetings. He understood that the Palestinian people were also present in Africa, in support of the African peoples who have suffered for a long time from these same types of colonization ”, summarizes the Palestinian diplomat.

Yasser Arafat therefore had a Senegalese diplomatic passport provided by Senghor, which allowed him to travel all over Africa. “President Senghor was one of the first presidents to recognize Palestine and welcome Yasser Arafat to Senegal. Since then, all the other heads of state who came after him have remained steadfast in this position of solidarity with our people. They did not haggle over their conscience, ”the Palestinian ambassador explained four years ago.

Senegal was one of the first African countries to open a Palestinian diplomatic representation on its soil. Papa Louis Fall, then Cheikh Niang today, chaired the Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, a UN organization.

If Macky Sall has «condemned the use of violence in all its forms», Palestine hopes to obtain real support from the Senegalese. The Palestinian ambassador to Senegal received activist Guy Marius Sagna last Wednesday. He notably «invited the Senegalese to boycott Israeli products» and officially asked the state to «interfere in this fight.» It is a duty to help the Palestinian brothers. We need international protection, to practice a concrete policy against this State which ignores all resolutions and acts with complete impunity ”.

Source: Le journal de l’ Afrique, 2021

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