Libya's Parliament Orders Out Envoys of Countries Supporting Israel

Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni (file photo).
26 October 2023

Harare — The Libyan parliament on Wednesday, October 25, requested that ambassadors from countries that "support" Israel in its conflict with Hamas in Gaza leave the country, AFP reports.

Since October 7, 2023 when Hamas militants began an onslaught that  Israeli sources said killed 1,400 civilians, Israel has been bombing the Gaza Strip. The Health Ministry in Gaza said that over 6,500 Palestinians were killed as a result of Israeli strikes.

In an announcement posted on its official website, the parliament located in the east, supported by military leader Khalifa Haftar in Libya, which is divided between two opposing administrations, threatened to shut off energy supplies if "massacres" against Palestinians continued.

"We demand that the ambassadors of the states which support the Zionist entity (Israel) in its crimes leave the territory (of Libya) immediately," the statement read.

"If the massacres committed by the Zionist enemy do not stop, we demand that the Libyan government suspend the export of oil and gas to the states that support it," it said.

The acts of "the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Italy" were condemned "in the strongest terms" by the parliament. According to the statement, the leaders of these countries "lecture on human rights and the right of peoples to self-determination" while they "support the Zionist entity in its crimes" in Gaza, it said.

Libya was torn apart by bloodshed and conflict following the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. Since then, the country has been ruled by two opposing groups. The UN recognizes Abdulhamid Dbeibah's administration in Tripoli, while Haftar - a former army member of Gaddafi's - runs the government in eastern Libya.

Since the start of the most recent conflict, Libyans have demonstrated their support for Palestinians, especially in the wake of a fatal hospital explosion in Gaza on October 17.

The African Union and African presidents and foreign ministers are calling for an end to the current escalation between Israel and Hamas militants from Gaza - a narrow piece of land on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, bordered by Israel to the east and north, and Egypt to the southwest - which broke out on Saturday October 7, 2023.

Earlier, Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said that Israel committed a "war crime" after the fatal attack on the Gaza strip hospital.

"There are no words to fully express our condemnation of Israel's bombing of a #Gaza hospital today, killing hundreds of people. Targeting a hospital, considered a safe haven under International Humanitarian Law, is a war crime. The International Community must act now," Mahamat wrote on X.

Meanwhile, the Southern African Litigation Centre (SALC) called on the 33 African states that are members of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to lobby for a full ICC investigation into reports of grave human rights violations and war crimes in Gaza.

Rallies have been held in across Africa expressing support for the Palestinian people. In Cape Town, South Africa, several thousand people marched in a show of solidarity with the people of Palestine, with demonstrators holding placards and flags, while chants of "free Palestine" and "stop the genocide, stop the hate" were heard.

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