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Israel and the Afro-Asian World

Courtesy Reuters

ASTRIKING development in international relations is the mounting interest with which more and more states of Africa and Asia, notably Ghana and Burma, are looking to Israel. They have found in Israel a state with an advanced technology capable of extending assistance, providing technicians, entering into trade, and supplying investment capital without in any way compromising their sovereignty or threatening their independence. Israel also has the advantage of being a relatively neutral source of assistance, without any of the possible ideological implications which might attach to assistance from the West or the Communist bloc. In addition, the dynamism of the Israeli development effort, the pioneer spirit that pervades it, and its visible achievements in difficult circumstances have undoubtedly excited the interest of many underdeveloped countries, and provide an attractive model with which they can identify themselves.

For Africa, Israel's desire to establish reciprocal relations offers a special attraction in that it can serve as a countervailing political force to offset Egypt's ambitions there. This was first perceived by Prime Minister Nkrumah of Ghana, who has his own plans for Africa; and as a result the Israeli initiative has found its warmest reception in Ghana.

African relations with Israel, which have been evolving over the past 18 months, have proved capable of withstanding antagonistic and even disruptive external pressures. Egypt's previously discreet efforts to weaken the Ghanaian-Israeli relationship became relatively overt at the Accra Conference of Independent African States in April 1958. There, the Egyptians tried to obtain an anti-Israel resolution which would tend to drive a wedge between Ghana and other African states on the one hand and Israel on the other. They were defeated. Dr. Fawzy, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Republic, sustained a double rebuff, first, in his failure to have the question of Israel placed on the Conference agenda as a separate item, and second, in the noncommittal resolution which emerged from the Conference, calling for a "just" resolution of the Arab-Israeli dispute. At the subsequent All-African People's Conference

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