Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced at Sunday’s cabinet meeting that Israel recognizes the newly declared country of South Sudan.
“Yesterday, a new state was born, South Sudan,” he said. “I hereby announce that Israel recognizes the Republic of South Sudan. We wish it success. This is a peace-seeking country and we would be pleased to cooperate with it in order to ensure its development and its prosperity. Greetings to South Sudan.”
South Sudan broke off from Sudan following years of persecution of its population -- which is mostly Christian and pagan -- by the Muslim North. Some analysts therefore see it as a natural candidate for diplomatic cooperation with Israel, which also suffers from its Muslim neighbors. South Sudan expressed interest in such ties even before declaring independence.
Netanyahu went on to thank “Israel’s friends” for helping to block the attempted “fly-in” by pro-terrorist activists. He did not name names, but among the countries that acted to stymie the efforts were European Union members that prevented would-be protesters from boarding flights to Israel.
“Last week, we stopped the defiant fly-in against the State of Israel," Netanyahu said. "We acted methodically and successfully in a variety of spheres – diplomacy, intelligence, public security, migration control and others, in order to frustrate this provocation. And indeed the provocation was foiled.”
“The agents provocateurs who tried to enter the State of Israel, a considerable portion of them were stopped at their points of origin, some were stopped at Ben-Gurion International Airport and some, a minority, entered the State of Israel and were detained here.”“First of all, I would like to thank our many friends around the world who helped us in this matter. I also thank Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, whom I asked to coordinate the effort in Israel and who did so very well. I also thank Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Interior Minister Eli Yishai and his people. Thanks, of course, to Israel Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino and the police, and to the security forces and the Population Authority personnel.”
“I would also like to thank all of the Government officials who worked successfully on this issue," he added. "I would also like to make it clear that Israel will continue to frustrate provocations and attempts to break through our borders, whether by land, sea or air.”