‘Golda Meir of Africa’, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Visits Israel, Angers Palestinians

Liberian president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, was yesterday hosted by Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin, during her visit to Israel, to receive an honorary doctorate degree from Haifa University, according to a report by Israel National News.

Sirleaf, is the first woman to be elected to the head of an African state, and has been called the “Golda Meir of Africa.”

Allafrica reported that Rivlin said, “Israel is working to try and bring to an end the tragedy, the conflict, with the Palestinians. We have to respect the idea that they are here, and they have to respect the idea that the Jewish people have returned to our homeland, and this is difficult because there is no confidence between the communities.”

Sirleaf visited Israel in 2007 for a conference held by the Israeli Center for International Development. She stated that she, “returned to help strengthen, and rejuvenate the partnership between our two countries, which has existed for many years, going back to Israel’s independence”.

While Palestinians have been leading an international campaign to isolate Israel politically for its violations of international law and the human rights of Palestinians, Sirleaf once more broke away from the trend aimed at holding Israeli accountable.

“Sirleaf is attempting to distract from her record of contributing to the massive corruption and neptunium in her country, by presenting herself as a regional and global leader,” said Palestinian journalist and analyst Ramzy Baroud. ” She had already and repeatedly broken away from the strong and growing solidarity with Palestinians around the world, and now she is doing it again,” he added.

“Sirleaf clearly lacks understanding of the nature of conflict in Palestine,” he stated. “It is both unfortunate and ironic that she has these views, considering that her own country, Liberia stands as an example of the barbarity of slavery and colonialism. How is that history any different from the plight of Palestinians today?,” Baroud asked.

Liberia, like other African countries had severed ties with Israeli in the aftermath of the 1973 war. Since her advent to power in 2006, however, Sirleaf has done much to normalize relations with Israel.

Sirleaf is quoted to have said that the, “source of my inspiration always came from strong women like Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, and Indira Ghandi. I’m proud that I followed in their footsteps.”

(Palestine Chronicle)

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