More African countries condemn ‘shocking’ decision by continental body to grant Israel observer status
At least three members states of the African Union have come out to condemn the decision by the chairman of the African Union Commission for taking a unilateral decision to grant Israel observer status.
The government of South Africa was the first country on Wednesday July 28, 2021, to raise alarm over the decision by the Chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat to grant observer status to the state of Israel.
After two previous failed attempts, Mr. Mahamet Faki on July 22 agreed to receive credentials from Aleli Admasu, Israel’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Burundi and Chad to have observer status at the AU.
The Spokesperson of South Africa’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Clayson Monyela said the African Union Commission took the decision unilaterally without consultations with its members.
“The decision to grant Israel Observer Status is even more shocking in a year in which the oppressed people of Palestine were hounded by destructive bombardments and continued illegal settlements of the land. The African Union strenuously objected to the deaths of Palestinians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure.
“The decision by the AU Commission in this context is inexplicable. The unjust actions committed by Israel offend the letter and spirit of the Charter of the African Union. The AU embodies the aspirations of all Africans and reflects their confidence that it can lead the continent through the practical expression of the goals of the Charter, especially on issues relating to self-determination and decolonisation. Israel continues to illegally occupy Palestine in complete defiance of its international obligations and relevant UN resolutions.
“It is therefore incomprehensible that the AU Commission chooses to reward Israel at a time when its oppression of Palestinians has been demonstrably more brutal. The South African government will ask the Chairperson of the Commission to provide a briefing to all member states on this decision which we hope, will be discussed by the Executive Council and the Assembly of Heads of States and Government.
South Africa firmly believes that as long as Israel is not willing to negotiate a peace plan without preconditions it should not have observer status in the African Union.
The African Union cannot be a party in any way to plans and actions that would see the ideal of Palestinian statehood reduced into balkanised entities devoid of true sovereignty, without territorial contiguity and with no economic viability.
On Thursday July 29, Namibia joined South Africa in condemning Faki’s decision and insisted that Israel can only be granted observer status once it accepts to cease occupation of Palestine.
“Granting observer status to an occupying power is contrary to the principles and objectives of the Constitutive Act of the African Union,” Penda Naanda, executive director of Namibia’s Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation, said in a statement.
Naanda said the AU Commission’s decision was against the usual firm and solid commitments made by several African heads of state and government who unequivocally support the Palestinian cause.
“Namibia therefore disassociates itself from granting observer status to the state of Israel,” it said.
The southern African nation said Israel can only be granted observer status at the AU on the condition that it ceases to occupy Palestine and grants the Palestinian people the right to self-determination.
On August 1, 2021, the government of Botswana also issued a statement condemning Faki’s decision to grant Israel Observer status.
Uganda government is yet to come up with a position or statement on the sensitive matter which experts have predicted will like cause confusion in the continental group.