Kenya signals shift on Israel as Mudavadi condemns 'catastrophic' loss

Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi

Prime Cabinet Secretary and Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi.

Photo credit: File| Nation Media Group

The Kenyan government has signalled a shift in its stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi condemning Israel's response to the conflict, insisting that its actions have led to a major "humanitarian crisis" and loss of life.

In an interview with BBC News Africa on Friday, Mudavadi called for a ceasefire and said both Israel and Palestine should end the level of hostilities by resolving their issues "politically".

“The President said that Kenya abhors terrorism of all kinds whether it happened on 7th October or at any other time. The President has called for the cessation of heightened conflict because the response of Israel has now escalated to a level where the humanitarian crisis and the loss of life is catastrophic,” Mudavadi said.

His comments come after President William Ruto backed Israel when the war broke out in October, insisting that the Kenyan government stood with Israel in condemning all forms of terrorism. Ruto later changed his views and called for a ceasefire between the two countries.

During the interview on Friday, Mudavadi avoided comparing Israel's response to the conflict to "genocide", but insisted that the loss of life and destruction was worrying.

The Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary also insisted that Kenya recognises both Israel and the state of Palestine.

'Not breaking off our relationship'

“We are not breaking off our relationship with Israel. We are trying to maintain our lines of diplomatic relationships and we have had that for a long time. We have had clear recognition for the state of Palestine and we have an envoy of Palestine in Nairobi. The message we are putting across here is that we want a cessation of what is taking place in Gaza. It is beginning to morph into a bigger problem,” he added.

At least 24,927 Palestinians have been killed and more than 62,300 wounded in Israeli attacks since the war broke out in October, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

On Thursday, the European Parliament voted in favour of a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas. While reaffirming Israel's right to defend itself, the Parliament condemned Israel's disproportionate response to the situation in Gaza and called for unhindered humanitarian access to Gaza.