Understanding the law-enforcement operation in Ethiopia

It is important to understand the reality in Ethiopia.

Fasil Legesse, Editor-in-Chief of Israeli-Ethiopian TV (photo credit: Courtesy)
Fasil Legesse, Editor-in-Chief of Israeli-Ethiopian TV
(photo credit: Courtesy)

On November 4, 2020, the special force of the Tigray regional government attacked the Ethiopian National Defense Force, known as the Northern Command, in an attempt to rob the artilleries and other military equipment. The members of the National Defense Force have been stationed in Tigray to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia. They were there supporting the community in harvesting and in controlling locust infestation. As a result, we all know that such a blatant act is an act of treason which will not be accepted by any sovereign state.

As Ethiopian descent Israeli, I follow the situations very closely, when the Federal government declared a state of emergency and embarked on an operation to enforce rule of law in the region. I am sad that the situation has reached this level. I realized that the Federal Government has attempted every possible political and legal means to address the differences peacefully. Unfortunately, when the National Defense was attacked, the Federal Government should discharge its duty to restore law and order based on the Constitution of the country. 

It is important to understand the reality in Ethiopia. I am writing this to give you my reflections and enhance a better understanding of the objective conditions and their broader context. Ethiopia is an ancient country with long history of statehood. The people have high regard for rule of law. The respect for members of armed forces is exemplary. They are rightly seen as a symbol of Ethiopian nationalism, making the ultimate sacrifice to defend the peace and security of the country. Hence, the murderous attacks on the Ethiopian Defense Forces was a serious blunder. It has shocked people. It angered all citizens. It is important to note that it is this attack that made the law enforcement action imperative. 

The operation is not a civil war. It is not a war against the people in Tigray. It is a military operation with limited scope and purpose. According to the Ethiopian government, the main purpose of the law enforcement operation is to disarm the local security force, to apprehend the fugitives and put in place a new civilian administration as per the FDRE Constitution. The operation is focused on those accused and specifically identified members of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) that were bent on violating the Constitution and other laws of the nation. This group has allegedly committed numerous crimes including crime against humanity, war crimes and such heinous acts are reported by international organizations like Amnesty International. 

The government is making advances in the operation to apprehend the criminals and bring them to justice. When the region is liberated, the people in Tigray will have the freedom. These criminals would be prosecuted as per the penal law for committing many grave crimes like treason and that of corruption. Once they face justice, the main objective will be achieved. 

Ethiopians need peace, as we all have invested a lot to create this stability we hope peace will prevail. The law enforcement operation has a lot of costs both in terms of human toll and material loss. Many expressed concerns that people in the area where there is active military operation will be vulnerable. The Ethiopian Government is taking all the necessary measures to protect civilians. We all understand that civilians need safety and security. Those citizens who were displaced should be resettled back to their homes. I believe the provision of food, water and other necessary services are underway. We need to work together to help our friends in need.

Ethiopia is a strong ally of Israel and a beacon of peace and security in the region. Israel and Ethiopia have maintained excellent diplomatic relationship. I believe our officials realize the significance of the friendship with Ethiopia and continue to understand and support for the Ethiopian government. It is necessary to express our appreciation to the authorities in Ethiopia for their support to bring out Israeli citizens who were stranded in Tigray. Their efforts to provide humanitarian exit to Israelis demonstrates our longstanding friendship. 

It is my hope that the ongoing operation is underway and is expected to come to conclusion as soon as possible. We all pray peace and justice will prevail in Ethiopia.