Israeli-Ugandan Relations in the Time of Idi Amin | Jerusalem Center For Public Affairs
and did not appreciate the unique relationship between the Jews and the Land of Israel. Fact: None of the land offered by the British is in present-day Uganda;. PM's envoy to Uganda to return to Israel, apparently without deal on migrants Olivier Nduhungirehe says his government not at all familiar with the Israeli NGO . In the context of relations between Israel and African countries that began to develop when President Idi Amin expelled all Israelis from Uganda and adopted.
In order to fight the Uganda Plan, he temporarily moved to Palestine, later returning to Poland, where he refused to leave during the Nazi occupation and was murdered in the Warsaw Ghetto in Nonetheless, he attended many future congresses.
In he made aliyah and, at the Twentieth Zionist Congress inRabbi Berlin was one of the few to vote against the Partition Plan. Despite being approved for consideration by the Zionists, the Uganda Plan was almost killed in December due to difficult negotiations between Zionist leaders and the British Foreign Office regarding, among other things, the exact size and location of the East Africa allocation.
The region finally settled upon was an area known as the Uasin Gishu plateau. It also became clear that England was offering the Jews only limited autonomy, on par with that of an English county. Even the very Jews who most needed to be saved were passionately opposed to Kenya or any place other than the Land of Israel. Not only were Jews being persecuted and murdered, but England, for example, was considering legislation to ban aliens.
An expedition had been planned to visit Mombasa, Kenya, to investigate the feasibility of the East Africa plan, but had been held up by politics, and, most significantly, by a lack of funds. In the summer ofa non-Jewish Englishwoman, Mrs. Gordon, secretly donated the cost of the mission. In Decembera full sixteen months after the Sixth Zionist Congress, Wolffsohn reluctantly dispatched the expedition.
The delay irritated the British and harmed the reputation of the Zionist organization. Hill Gibbonsa well-known African explorer and author, also included Professor Alfred Kaiser, a Swiss explorer and scientist, and Nachum Wilbusch Wilbuschewitza Russian civil engineer and the only Jew of the three. Kaiser emerged pessimistic, Wilbusch was disparaging of the whole idea and Major Gibbons was only mildly more hopeful, with his report offering a tepid recommendation for an African Jewish colony.
On May 22,the Greater Actions Committee, a sub-committee of the Zionist Congress, met in Vienna to review the report and unanimously voted to recommend to the Zionist Congress that the scheme not proceed.
The Uganda Plan was officially rejected at the Seventh Zionist Congress in Basel, and the decision was conveyed to the British government by Greenberg on August 8, However, twenty-eight of the delegates had refused to accept the overwhelming decision of the Congress. While proclaiming broad-based support, the ITO never made much headway either with its attempts at concessions from the British government or in garnering Jewish backing.
Herzl did not live to see the modern State of Israel, but he did describe his dream in great detail in his utopian novel, Altneuland. At last Fredrich asked a question, and each answered in his own way: An insightful glimpse into the nature of what was lying in the pure soul of the visionary of modern-day Israel.
For the complete story of the Uganda Plan, see Robert G. Much of the information found in this article is taken from this work.
An additional source is Jehuda Reinharz, Chaim Weizmann: You already expressed a simple principle that we believe in — that is, that bilateral relations should be reflected in multilateral forums. There is a dissonance, obviously, between us and quite a few nations still.
Or to be more precise: During the civil war in Rwanda, which began in October with the invasion of the Tutsi rebels led by Kagame, Israel supported the Hutu regime with arms and training. Israeli military exports did not cease even after the civil war escalated into genocide in April Similarly, Israel bears responsibility, albeit indirectly, for the rise of Idi Amin to power in Uganda in According to the Uganda Truth Commission reportAmin turned to Israel right after the coup and asked for help in setting up a new Ugandan internal security service.
Even after the severing of relations between Israel and Uganda in Aprilthe arms and training which had been provided by Israel did not vanish into thin air, and these kept serving his murderous dictatorship for years. The situation changed abruptly in March when President Idi Amin expelled all Israelis from Uganda and adopted a hostile stance. Introduction Israel began its activities in many African countries before they became independent, and Uganda was one.
Ina year before its independence, this author was sent by the Israeli Foreign Ministry to get familiar with the East African region and to establish initial contacts with local leaders. The author was then also an associate researcher at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, then the only university in all of East Africa.
By that time, students and senior Ugandan officials had visited Israel. They included Yusuf Lule, the assistant rector of Makerere University, who in after the overthrow of Idi Amin was appointed president of Uganda. Lule was of great help to Israel in finding the remains of Dora Bloch, the hostage killed in the Entebbe affair, and bringing them to Israel for burial. Back inhowever, Israel knew little of Uganda.
Early that year, the Israeli Foreign Ministry received a telegram from the Trade Union of Austria stating that a Ugandan leader, Milton Obote, who was currently visiting them would like to come to Israel. They recommended a favorable response because they thought he would assume an important position in an independent Uganda.
The Foreign Ministry assented, and this author was asked to accompany Obote during his stay in Israel. He spent a week in the country, meeting with leading figures who discussed with him possible cooperation with Uganda in several fields.
Israeli-Ugandan Relations in the Time of Idi Amin
After he left for Sweden, the Foreign Ministry received a telegram from there stating that this individual was not really Obote but an impostor. Later, when serving in the Israeli embassy in Uganda, this author met Obote, who was then prime minister, and told him about the episode with the impostor. He was tried and punished. Israel wanted to break through the encirclement of hostile Arab countries and open a way to a nearby continent, and especially East Africa.
A history of Africa-Israel relations
Israel also had commercial, economic, and strategic interests in Africa, as well as a humanitarian goal of helping developing countries especially in training manpower. Sudan was then the scene of a bloody civil war between the Arab-Muslim north and the Christian and animist, black-African south.
Sudan had also openly participated in wars against the Jewish state. Large tribes such as the Acholi lived on both sides of the Ugandan-Sudanese border, and the Sudanese army sometimes invaded northern Uganda in pursuit of rebels, destroying villages and killing tribespeople.
Along with this came the forceful Arabization and Islamization of the tribes in southern Sudan. Being militarily weaker than Sudan, however, Uganda could not help them in any significant way. The Nile waters, so important for Egypt, traverse Sudan. Hence, Obote welcomed the overtures from Israel, which had earned a reputation for rapid economic development and, even more so, military prowess. Israel was also one of the first countries to open an embassy in Uganda.
Thus, wide-ranging Israeli activity in Uganda began. Minister Allon again visited Uganda in September to inaugurate the first course for youth leaders, which was taught by Israeli advisers.
Hundreds of Ugandan students received training in Israel, some in medicine and engineering.
In Uganda itself, Israelis gave on-the-spot courses in agriculture, cooperatives, and community development. In the economic sphere, Israeli companies such as Solel Boneh, Vered, Tahal, and Koor-Sahar were involved in constructing agricultural stations, public buildings, roads, and housing estates.
Among the largest projects was the Kabale-Ntungamo road in a difficult, mountainous area in western Uganda at a cost of one million pounds sterling, which West Germany gave to Uganda as a grant. The project was carried out by Vered, which won the bid in Also in that period, Solel Boneh began constructing a housing estate in the Bugolobi neighborhood in Kampala, a project that to this day is cited as an example of Israeli activity.
Tahal began discussions on a project to develop water sources in the semi-arid Karamoja region in northern Uganda, where nomadic tribes fought over water and grazing areas.
There was also a steady increase in Israeli-Ugandan trade, especially Israeli exports to Uganda. In the defense sphere, developments in Israeli-Ugandan cooperation were much publicized in Israel and elsewhere. In the African continent, Israel had a larger military presence only in Ethiopia. Israelis trained the first Ugandan pilots on Fuga jets that were acquired in Israel.
Courses in the intelligence field were held both in Uganda and Israel.
The international and Arab media also reported that Israel was building its own air force in northern Uganda to enable attacking Sudan and Egypt if the need arose. Likewise, it was claimed that Israel was providing military equipment and advisers to the southern Sudanese underground, Anya Anya, via Uganda.
Uganda Woos Israeli Investors
Egypt in particular tried, unsuccessfully at that time, to pressure Uganda not to cooperate militarily with Israel. During JuneIsraeli prime minister Levi Eshkol visited Uganda and met with Obote and other Ugandan leaders, discussing further cooperation in all areas. Nevertheless, Israeli-Ugandan cooperation continued in all areas, including military.
InObote had staged a coup against Mutesa II, monarch of the large kingdom of Buganda and the first president of independent Uganda. Obote had decided to abolish Buganda, then the largest and most powerful of the kingdoms existing in federal Uganda, because it wanted to secede from the country.
Mutesa fled to Britain, where he found refuge until his death in Several commentators and historians claimed Israel played a vital role in the revolt. Idi Amin was born in in the western Nile region of northwest Uganda, near the border with Sudan. His father was a Muslim from the small Kakwa tribe. While still a child he went with his mother to live in the kingdom of Buganda where he attended an elementary school, acquiring a basic education and a limited capacity to read and write English.
InAmin enlisted in the local army that was created by the British, where he stood out because of his strength and huge size. Inwhen the British hastily established a local army officer corps, Amin received a commissioned rank. In he was sent to Israel for a paratrooper course; though he did not complete it, he received paratrooper wings because he was an important officer friendly to Israel.