|Israeli Ambassador Sharon Bar-Li and |
Ghanaian President John Atta Mills, Wednesday.
Photo credit: MFA
Israel re-opened its embassy in Ghana on Wednesday, after 38 years without an official ambassadorial presence in the African country.
Sharon Bar-Li, Israel's new ambassador in Accra, the Ghanaian capital, gave her confirmation letter from President Shimon Peres to Ghanaian President John Atta Mills last week during an official ceremony. During the service, the name Israel was drummed on talking drums, the traditional West African method of relaying messages.
“Congratulations on your appointment. We are extremely delighted at last that Israel has opened an embassy in Ghana and you have been appointed as the first ambassador. Be assured of our fullest cooperation and collaboration,” Mills said.
“Ghana has a lot to learn from Israel for its track record, and the two nations will collaborate and learn from each other for their mutual benefit,” a release on Ghana's official government website said on Friday.
During her speech, Bar-Li said it was a historic moment for the two countries. The appointment followed a visit by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to Ghana in September 2009 and his decision to re-open the embassy.
Ghana was the first African country to recognize Israel in 1956, but ties broke down after significant Arab pressure following the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
According to the government release, Ghana plans on opening an embassy in Israel in the near future. Israel's ties with Africa have improved in recent months with South Sudan's newly found independence and their declaration to open an embassy in Jerusalem. Israel currently has 10 embassies in Africa.
Protesters in Jordan call to shut down Israeli embassy, burn Israeli flag. No violent incidents.
The planned ‘million man march’ on the Israeli Embassy in Jordan fizzled to only about 300 young protesters on Thursday, The Associated Press reported.
According to the report, the demonstration was small and peaceful, possibly because the Muslim Brotherhood accounted for only about 100 of the protesters, while others were mostly youths.
The protesters chanted, “We want to get rid of the (Israeli) embassy,” and burned an Israeli flag about a mile (1.5 kilometers) down the hill from the Israeli Embassy.
One protester told AP, “We reject the peace treaty (signed between Jordan and Israel in 1994) and we don’t want an Israeli Embassy in Jordan.”
According to the news agency, police formed several lines and set up metal fences to prevent the protesters from marching toward the embassy. In one incident, a handful of demonstrators pushed one of the fences against policemen, but they were quickly pushed back. Dozens of riot police also stood guard blocks away from the protest and near the embassy.
On Wednesday, it was reported that Jordanian activists were planning a million man march, in which they would demand that the Israeli Embassy in Amman be shut down.
The call to protest was welcomed among many political parties, among them the Coordination Committee of the Jordanian opposition parties, which includes seven parties, and the Islamic Action Front Party which represents the extreme Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan.
Israel subsequently decided to evacuate its embassy in Amman, fearing that the protest might escalate to a violent riot such as the one in the Israeli Embassy in Cairo last week.