Weekly Press Columns Digest

Weekly Press Columns Digest

KHARTOUM (Sudanow) — The issue of Sudan’s normalizing ties with Israel has kept hitting media headlines over the foregoing week, where a number of newspaper columnists allotted their opinion space to the topic. 

Dr. Elshafie’ Khidir wrote in ‘Sudanile’ e-magazine criticizing the Sudanese transitional government for lack of transparency when dealing with highly volatile issues such as Sudan’s relation with Israel. Elshafie’ stated that any beginner in the field of politics could’ve anticipated that the USA would aggressively push to use the issue of normalization as blackmailing card in the Sudan’s delisting negotiations. Accordingly, it was expected that the transitional government’s negotiators should’ve kept such possibility in mind and set various strategic scenarios for tackling this thorny matter, instead of waiting until the last minute and then try to come up with hasty reactionary diplomatic remedies and responses.

Dr. Elshafie’ gave as an example the PM Hamdok’s response to the USA Secretary of State that his transitional government has no mandate to normalize ties with Israel, and also referred to numerous claims by Sudanese officials and negotiators that they managed to disengage delisting of Sudan as state sponsor of terrorism from the issue of normalizing ties with Israel, reminding his readers that many tweets by US and Tel Aviv officials indicate otherwise, as such tweets showed that the two issues, delisting and normalization, are inextricably linked. 

Dr. Elshafie’ expressed his belief that the lack of transparency and credibility on part of the transitional government as regards the inextricable link between the delisting and normalization would only reflect negatively on the transitional government’s profile. The writer gives an example of this by relating the fact that the Sudanese people first heard about Sudan’s normalizing ties with Israel from president Trump, not from their own transitional government. Furthermore, Sudanese people first heard the news of Sudan’s listing of Hezbollah of Lebanon as a terrorist organization from the American media and not from their government’s official media channels. 

He also expressed pessimism that the end result of such diplomatic and political commotion would be for Sudan to become a voting card for US and Israeli politicians or, at best, a future potential of untapped fertile land resources providing food and feed for outside beneficiaries and their livestock.

In conclusion, Elshafie’ highlighted two points for consideration as regards the present status of affairs: the first point is that Sudan’s current political and economic problems are not going to vanish in consequence of delisting and normalizing ties with Israel, since he believes that the key solution to Sudan’s problems and crises should stem from within the borders of Sudan itself, and definitely not from abroad. The second point to be noted, as stated by Elshafie’, is that any normalizing of ties with Israel, at any level, must not jeopardize the Palestinian’s rights and act against the UN resolution no. 19/67 that recognizes Palestine as a country under occupation within the borders of 4th June 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, and UN resolution no. 194 granting the right of home return to Palestinian residents of 1948. The writer also stressed the need that Sudan should continue supporting the Palestinian resistance cause. 



From another perspective, columnist Yousuf Elsondi, of ‘Eltahrir’ e-newspaper, quoted General Elburhan, chairperson of the sovereign council, as saying that he had notified certain party leaders, who are now opposing the normalization process, of the issue of normalization and they have told him that they have no objection to normalizing ties with Israel if the same is ratified by the legislative council. This statement by General Elburhan indicates, as viewed by journalist Elsondi, the General’s no-objection to any non-normalization decision taken by the legislative council, which places him in a tight odd position, since the forces of freedom and change (FFC) are supposed to occupy 55% of the legislative council’s seats. In such situation, and where the military component will not be represented in the legislative council, Elburhan seems to have a very slim chance of winning a two-third majority to his side for normalization. Therefore, Elsondi believes that Elburhan’s options as to accepting the legislative council’s pending resolution or resorting to other tactical measures is anybody’s guess by now. 

However, Elsondi reminded his readers that, until a legislative council has been formed, both Gen. Elburhan and Hamdok, the former as chairperson of the sovereign council and the latter as prime minister in the transitional government, have the right under the constitutional document to decide into external politics issues in a joint session between the sovereign council and the cabinet; but Elsundi warned that any such move by the transitional government would make it lose its political incubator, as the Umma, Ba’ath and Communist parties have already voiced concerns and strong opposition to the imposition of the normalization issue without legislative council’s ratification. 

Therefore, Elsondi describes as complex and confusing the consequences of such normalizing move by the transitional government, suggesting two scenario outcomes: the first scenario is the formation of the legislative council and the ultimate most-likely rejection of the normalizing process, leaving Gen. Elburhan and PM Hamdok at a loss, specifically after the great steps they have already made along the normalizing track. The second scenario is that a joint session of the sovereign council and the cabinet would approve the normalizing process, with the most likely consequence of the transitional government losing its political incubator, and accordingly face aggressive political opposition. 

Columnist Elsondi agrees that both scenarios are tough; yet he sees the swift formation of the long-awaited legislative council to decide into the issue as the most convenient option, especially that such step would lay the foundation for rational political practice in Sudan.



In his column at ‘Elsudani’ newspaper, Dr. Abdel-latif Albooni highlighted the common knowledge that, considering its geographical surrounding, the State of Israel ranks its national security as top priority. To this end the State of Israel has been adopting offensive tactics and policies all along. One of such offensive tactics is to carry out whatever measures available to jeopardize and disintegrate the unity of its neighboring Arab countries in order for Israel to act as sole and only integral power in the region. Regrettably, the State of Israel has been achieving success after success along this track, said the writer, and Sudan is no exception in this regard, although it is geographically far away from Israel. The writer quoted a statement made by Israel’s minister of interior in 2008 stressing Israel’s intent to weaken and disintegrate Sudan by encouraging the cessation of some of its remote regions to stand up as independent countries. In evidence of such intent, the writer highlighted the fact that the first southern Sudanese rebellion movement “the Anya-Nya”, i.e. ‘black snake’s poison’, was formed, funded and trained by Israel. 

Even after the Addis Ababa peace deal of 1971 with the Anya-Nya movement, the State of Israel worked hard to form a replacement ‘Anya-Nya’ movement led by Abdalla Shoul. When John Garang emerged on the scene he was immediately backed by the State of Israel and promoted as a salvage hero of Southern Sudan, stated Elbooni. But when Garang sent out signals adopting a unified-Sudan position, he was immediately removed from the political scene in a mysterious plane crash. The writer further drew attention to Israel’s great welcome of South Sudan cessation. 

Columnist Elbooni also referred to Israel’s interventions and interferences in Darfur region as related by Mr. Abdulwahid Noor. He also referred to direct airstrikes launched by Israel on targets in Sudan (Elyarmouk Factory and Port Sudan), as well as Israel’s indirect role in airstrikes launched on targets within the capital Khartoum (such as Elshifa Factory).

In conclusion the writer referred to the obvious linking between the delisting of Sudan as state sponsor of terrorism and the normalizing of Sudan’s ties with Israel as evidenced in many statements and tweets by American and Israeli officials despite denial by Sudanese counterparts, and ended by raising a key concluding question: Even when the normalization process is accomplished and approved, would the State of Israel quit its strategic policy to weaken and disintegrate Sudan? Or would it rather continue the same policy under new tactics and measures? The writer places the question on the table for whoever dares and undertakes to adopt and pass the normalization resolution.


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