In light of ongoing conflict in Sudan, what is the fate of normalisation with Israel? – Middle East Monitor

Since the start of the ongoing fierce conflict between General Abdul Fattah Al Burhan, the Sudanese Army chief, and General Mohamad Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti, chief of the strong militia known as Rapid Support Forces (RSF), Israel has been opening eyes widely towards the situation in the African country.

Last week, the Israeli government proposed to mediate between the two sides who, according to Israeli officials, had been in contact with their Israeli counterparts. Israeli Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, said: “Israeli government is doing its best to stop the war” between the two Generals in Sudan.

The Israeli occupation government, the Israeli online newspaper, Ynet news, said that “Israel is actively there in the reconciliation efforts.” Stating that Israel is interested in a peaceful Sudan, Israel Hayom reported an Israeli official saying that “Israel wants a stable Sudan”.

There are many remarks by several senior Israeli officials and Israeli analysts reflecting the same feeling – that Israel wants a stable and peaceful Sudan. At the same time, Israel wants Sudan to remain controlled by the military or hand over power to a civilian authority under American custodianship, like most other countries in the Middle East. Why does Israel want this?

READ: UN: Conflict could force 800,000 people to flee Sudan

Since the ouster of former President Omar Al Bashir, Israel has been seeking to forge a peace agreement with Sudan for several reasons. The United States also pushed for good relations between the occupation state and Sudan, as former US President Donald Trump did his best to include Sudan with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco in the peace agreement, known as “Abraham Accords signed in the White House in 2020.

It is right that Sudan refused to join the Abraham Accords, but it agreed to make peace with Israel as Al Burhan, the de facto ruler of the African country, secretly met with Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in 2020 in Uganda and the two countries have exchanged several visits of senior delegations since then. At the same time, Hemedti has met with Cohen and is maintaining direct contacts with Israeli Mossad.

After a visit to Khartoum in February, Cohen said: “We returned with three yeses: yes for peace, yes for talks and yes for recognition,” citing an opposite stance for Khartoum’s three noes of the Arab League adopted in a meeting held following the 1967 occupation – “No peace with Israel, no negotiation with Israel, no recognition of Israel.”

The reason behind Israel’s interest in ending of ongoing fighting in Sudan is that the occupation state does not want the military commanders to leave the political state before signing a normalisation agreement with the African country, which Israel considers the gateway to the African continent.

Walla, an Israeli news website, has reported: “Israel reached an end that signing a normalisation agreement with Sudan will not happen before the end of the ongoing conflict … This came after giving up a previous thought that a deal could have happened even without handing over authority to a civilian power.”

Meanwhile, Israel Hayom reiterated that the occupation state wants a stable Sudan because it considers it the gateway to the African continent. Israel believes that its efforts to reach the depth of Africa could not bear fruit without Sudan’s assistance.

Walla also reported that Israeli officials were in contact with their Sudanese counterparts prior to the start of the conflict, and they advised both of them to sort out their differences peacefully … “Israeli leaders had been persuaded that no such deal (normalisation of ties) could have taken place in light of such a war,” the Israeli daily said.

READ: Sudan: 4,000 tonnes of UN humanitarian aid looted

Israel is highly interested to have good ties with Sudan, because the lack of good ties means the failure of plans to return 150,000 African migrants currently in Israel to Africa. Netanyahu said that Sudan had agreed to receive Sudanese and African migrants back from Israel.

The lack of good relations with Sudan means, according to Israeli monitors, the failure of planned Israeli IT and agricultural projects, including growing livestock and farming in Sudan and other African countries.

Anyway, Israel is mostly tending towards Hemedti who is seeking its assistance, and is ally to the same Israel’s allies in the region and, at the same time, it is afraid that Al Burhan, if he wins, might be influenced by his Islamist supporters, who do not want ties with Israel.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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