We live in a fast-paced world where systems quickly integrate, as do our relationships with the rest of the world. Seminars and summits are frequently convened in a bid to help improve opportunities and give access to resources to all countries. It is not every day, however, that these seminars are viewed in a positive light as we would all like. One example of such a summit is the Africa-Israel Summit that was scheduled to take place in Lome, Togo from the 23rd to 27th October 2017. The summit was expected to provide a platform for leaders from over a dozen African countries from various sectors to meet, discuss, and collaborate on issues such as shared prosperity, with Israeli leaders and officials. With such a noble aim, the summit was expected to be a hit; however, from the get-go there were mixed opinions with some supporting the initiative and others—including some African nations—opposing this summit.
Concerns were high about an African-Israel summit justifying some of the humanitarian issues that came with colonization in Africa, such as apartheid. Palestine was particularly concerned about the perceived influence that Israel may have within Africa and the United Nations should the summit come to pass. In fact, earlier this month the Palestines in Europe Conference began a campaign to discourage African countries from participating in the Africa-Israel Summit. African countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia and South Africa had already boycotted or shown signs of boycotting the summit. South Africa was, in particular, a country of interest owing to its history that is scarred with apartheid.
Recent developments, however, have only made things more complicated. In fact, the summit has now been canceled altogether. First, some Arab States, Palestine, and South Africa were applying political pressure in Togo to ensure that the summit would not come to pass for reasons such as those stated above. The President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, also noted that the summit preparations might take longer than had been previously intended. In addition, the host country has been experiencing political unrest, which has contributed to the reasons for the cancellation.
The cancellation, is, however, not the final nail in the coffin as the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the summit is only to be postponed to a later date. Human rights groups, however, continue to see this cancellation as a positive development and thus, a victory to what they call efforts against racism, fascism, and injustice.