” I have been instructed by my Government to draw your attention to the attached extract from Country Reports on Human Rights Practices For 1989, published by the Department of State of the United States of America, which contains information on the situation concerning human rights in Somalia.”
This was in a letter Submitted to the UN Security Council on 2nd May 1990 during its fourty fifth session by Ambassador Johanan Bein then Israel Acting Permanent Representative to the United Nations. full letter below courtesy of @somalilandForEv
The Israelis were reacting to what has become known as the Isaaq genocide or Hargeisa holocaust. This was the systematic, state sponsored genocide of Isaaq civilians between 1987 and 1989 by the Somali Democratic Republic under the dictatorship of Siad Barre during the Somaliland War of Independence
While this carnage went on the entire world apart from the state of ISRAEL watched in utter silence.
Despite the fact that the Isaaq clan is predominately adhere to the Muslim faith, the Jewish state of Israel could not be kept mum.
Thus Somaliland, like Israel, finds itself politically isolated, in the middle of a hostile region and at a thorny crossroads and if anyone is to reach out to the unrecognized republic, it would be Israel. It too knows how it feels to be denied it’s statehood and self-determination. While Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, Somaliland is the only Muslim democracy in the region.
Somaliland has it’s own hybrid system of governance under a constitution was former British protectorate which gained independence 26th June 1960 and was recognized by 34 countries including Israel and the United States. It later joined South Somalia in a union that was never rectified which lasted until 1991.
Though a long way off from receiving international recognition as an independent state, it is a haven of peace and stability when compared with the rest of Somalia.
Also read Why Israel should care about SomalilandWhy Israel should care about Somaliland
But Somaliland has its dark side. Within living memory its citizens fell victim to the most savage of state-sponsored atrocities. General Siad Barre – the ruthless dictator who ruled Somalia from 1969 to 1991 – went to war with the Isaaq clans who inhabited the area. Believing them to be supporting a rebellion against his regime, he took revenge by sending in his army with a mandate to “kill all but the crows” aka the Isaaq genocide or Hargeisa holocaust.
The number of civilian deaths in this massacre is estimated to be between 50,000 and 100,000, according to various sources, whilst local reports estimate the total civilian deaths to be upwards of 200,000 Isaaq civilians.
The genocide also included the levelling and complete destruction of the second and third largest cities in the Somali Republic, Hargeisa (which was 90 percent destroyed) and Burao (70 per cent destroyed), respectively and had caused up to 500,000 citizens (primarily of the Isaaq clan,) to flee their land and cross the border to Hartasheikh in Ethiopia as refugees in what was described as “one of the fastest and largest forced movements of people recorded in Africa” which resulted in the creation of the world’s largest refugee camp then (1988) with another 400,000 being displaced.
The scale of destruction led to Hargeisa being known as the ‘Dresden of Africa’ The killings happened during the Somali Civil War and have been referred to as a “forgotten genocide”.
Though Somaliland is predominately a Muslim country the Israelis have never been opposed rather been supportive of her independence and subsequent recognition aspirations.
Israel was the first state of the 35 to recognize Somaliland in 1960 when it received its independence from Great Britain.
And on the 12th February 2010 then spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry was quoted in Haaretz Daily newspaper saying his government was ready to recognize Somaliland again.
However, Mr. Palmor admitted Somaliland government has not contacted the Israeli government to seek ties.
Adding that the government of Israel is ready to restore the de jure recognition it has offered to Somaliland in 1960 as it eyes the Red Sea and the Horn, once it is approached by the relevant authorities.
When asked a question regarding Somalia, Mr. Palmor answered: “Somalia looks like the Afghanistan of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, historically speaking we know the Somali people have different believes and politics.
The Somali people have different political values of which they unified in 1960 that led to the whole misunderstanding and ultimately the collapse of Somalia,” he told Haaretz Daily. While answering to a question regarding Somaliland-Israel ties, he said: “Israel was the first nation to recognize Somaliland and indeed was the first country the State of Israel has recognized, after it received it’s Independence from Great Britain. When it unified with Southern Somalia, again we were the first to recognize it. We always wanted a relationship with a Muslim country in East Africa and which we can share the Red sea with.”
Mr. Palmor said his country was ready to restore Somaliland’s old status however currently the two states have no bilateral ties.
In the recent past the Jewish state formerly in the Arab world has managed to make diplomatic inroads that have resulted with establishment and exchange of permanent diplomatic missions I.e UAE, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan etc
So as the Somaliland quest for International recognition intensifies and in lieu of recent Successes garnered by President Muse Bihi during his ten days visit to the US, a keener person would wonder whether the time is finally RIPE for a parley with the Jewish state.
All in all thanks to the Israelis for an ever available diplomatic shoulder for Somaliland to lean on.
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