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African Union to discuss granting Israel observer status

October 14, 2021 at 11:01 am

The Chairperson of the African Union, Moussa Faki Mahamat speaks during a briefing to the press, during the visit of the President of the European Commission in Addis Ababa, on December 7, 2019. [DUARDO SOTERAS/AFP via Getty Images]

The African Union is to discuss granting Israel observer status during its meeting starting today, a step condemned by Palestine along with many member states.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) yesterday urged African nations to object to the recent decision to grant Israel observer status at the continental body.

“Our shared long history of solidarity and struggle against colonialism and oppression and the African legacy of anti-racism and anti-apartheid necessitates that this unfortunate nomination is discussed and reversed in the upcoming meeting of the African Union,” Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Malki said.

Palestinians, he continued, look to Africa for support and solidarity in their struggle against the Israeli occupation.

“Our fight for a world free of racism is an ongoing and shared struggle, from the streets of Jerusalem to the streets of Abuja, Nairobi and Johannesburg. We have a shared duty to ensure that the normalisation of our dehumanisation, demonisation and colonisation is rooted out once and for all,” he said.

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The African Union Commission head Moussa Faki Mahamat in July granted observer status to Israel prompting outrage across the continent.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), a bloc of 16 countries, also condemned the decision at a recent summit in Malawi and called for it to be reviewed.

“South Africa firmly believes that as long as Israel is not willing to negotiate a peace plan [with Palestine] without preconditions, it should not have an observer status in the African Union,” South Africa’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“The African Union cannot be a party in any way to plans and actions that would see the ideals of Palestinian statehood reduced to balkanized entities devoid of true sovereignty, without territorial contiguity and with no economic viability,” it added.