Israel’s return to African Union is creating divisions across continent
Israel’s readmission to the African Union (AU) as an observer has still not been confirmed, as some members of the bloc have raised objections, underscoring more serious divisions in the continent.
AU Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat quietly and unceremoniously granted Israel observer status within the organisation on July 22, a move that had been rejected for nearly two decades.
Critics say the AU should withdraw the observer status granted to Israel, an apartheid regime whose gross violations of human rights and ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity directly contravene the principles and purpose of the African Union.
The growing opposition has forced the bloc’s Chairperson to reconsider his position. The question will be put to all 55 member states at the next heads of state summit in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa in February 2022.
Since the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, the continent has been united on the Israel issue. In the aftermath of the conflict, all African countries officially broke off diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv.
The AU has called for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the independence of the state of Palestine, with East al-Quds as its capital.
At least 23 AU member states now oppose the bloc’s grant of observer status to Israel.
Among them are the southern African nations of Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana staunchly oppose Israel’s return to the Africa Union.
These countries have followed in the footsteps of South Africa, which has been championing the Palestinian cause on the continent since its apartheid system was dismantled.