Palestine, a Muslim nation, and Israel have been on a constant bloody conflict over Jerusalem whereby both countries claim ownership. Palestinians consider Jerusalem as their own capital of the Palestinian State, creating competing claims on the city against Israel which also claim the same city as its capital.
For this reason, all countries that are in diplomatic relations with Israel tactically avoid locating their embassies in this conflict zone.
American presidential candidates, for example, have only promised to move the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, acknowledging the importance many Israelis place on the city as the heart of the country. But upon getting in office, realities of risks have always dawned and there has always been a U-turn until President Trump took a bold step.
The U-turn were preferred after recognizing that such a move would undermine peace process and risk unrest in the occupied Palestinian territories.
It was only in 2017 that the American President officially recognized Jerusalem as the Capital City of Israel and consequentially moved its Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The decision spawned anti-American protests throughout the Muslim world, from Morocco to Turkey to Indonesia, and led to severe clashes between Israelis and Palestinians.
Apparently, the issue of Jerusalem as belonging to either Palestine or Israel, as per the competing claims, is sentimental. The entire Muslim world sentimentally believes that Palestine is the rightful owner while the Christian community equally believes that God himself gave Jerusalem to Israel.
His Excellency President Lazarus Chakwera is not only a Christian, but also a devote Pastor who would do everything to promote Christian/Biblical ideals and claims. It is on that understanding that he attained the suggestion to partner with Israel in promoting the decree contained in the Bible as relating to the land of Jerusalem.
However, such a move would dangerously put Malawi on undesirable crosshairs. The emotional draw of Al Quds, which continues to resonate across the Muslim world, just as Jerusalem does for Christians and Jews, would result into extremists targeting Malawi as well as risking the security and lives of the diplomats who would serve in such Embassy located in the conflict zone.
As we speak, Malawi is already sitting next to an Islamic insurgency group which has engulfed Cabo Delgado region in northern Mozambique which borders Tanzania. This insurgency group called Ansur al-Sunna, which is allegedly backed by the ISIS group seeks to establish an Islamic caliphate in the region as well as to usurp control of the region, which is used as their strategic trade point as it is used as a transit port to smuggle narcotics (particularly Cocaine and Heroin) coming from Afghanistan and eastern Pakistan into Brazil, Europe and other parts of Africa. Apart from that, the region is believed to contain vast reserves of natural gas in which Russia is interested and is negotiating a multi billion contract with the Mozambique Government.
This, therefore, could be our present danger in our little territory.
Last week, reports emerged that this insurgent group massacred a lot of Mozambique citizens in their villages. Hundreds of villagers were reportedly beheaded.
In my view, therefore, the decision to plant Malawi’s Embassy in Jerusalem is politically dangerous for Malawi and Malawians in Israel and it, surely, is a battle or risk not worthy taking as a country.
*Negracious Al-Majiduh Justin is Director of Communications and Public Relations of the Citizens for Transformation (CFT) whose Commander-In-Chief Timothy Mtambo is the country’s Minister of Civic Education. He wrote this piece in his personal capacity.
*Image Source: Unsplash