African Union cancels decision on Israel’s observer status

2022-02-06 19:20:51
African Union cancels decision on Israel’s observer status

The African Union summit has cancelled a decision to grant Israel an observer status in the Pan-African organization, an Algerian source said on Sunday, avoiding a vote that risked creating an unprecedented rift in the 55-member bloc.

An Algerian source said the African Union summit has cancelled a decision to grant Israel an observer status in the pan-African organization.

Algeria is participating in the two-day AU summit, which opened in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Saturday.

“The summit decided to abolish the decision to grant Israel an observer status at the AU,” the source in the Algerian delegation was quoted as saying by the private Echorouk TV channel. “The decision crowned efforts by Algeria and other countries” to cancel the decision, he added.

The relationship with the apartheid Israeli regime is a rare point of contention for a body that values consensus, with powerful member states, notably South Africa, loudly protesting a decision by Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the African Union Commission, to accept the Israeli regime’s accreditation to the bloc.

The six-member committee will include South Africa and Algeria, who opposed Faki’s move to accredit the Israeli regime last July, as well as Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who supported it, according to the diplomats.

Cameroon also asked to be on the committee, while South Africa requested the inclusion of Nigeria as well, the diplomats said.

There was no immediate information available on the timeline for the committee’s work or when the AU might take up the matter again.

As the summit opened Saturday, Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh urged African leaders to reject Israeli regime AU accreditation, denouncing it as an apartheid regime.

Member nations such as South Africa said they had not been properly consulted about the decision, which they said contradicted numerous AU statements -– including from Faki himself –- supporting the Palestinian Territories.

Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra condemned the decision to grant Israel an observer status at the bloc as a “huge mistake.”

He told the Qatari Arabic-language al-Jazeera television network that his country had no role in adoption of the measure.

“The first mistake was that the decision to grant Israel observer status at the AU was taken without any consultation with its member states. Secondly, there exist disagreements among AU member states on the matter,” Lamamra noted.

He also said if consultations had taken place among the AU members in advance, the decision would have certainly not been taken.

“This is a bad thing for the African Union and it could jeopardize solidarity among the member states,” Lamamra said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading a continental campaign to cancel Israel’s status as an accredited observer at the African Union.

Experts say Israel’s observer status is largely seen as part of Tel Aviv's continued campaign to normalize ties in Africa.

Other African countries, including Botswana and Namibia, have also opposed Israel’s accreditation. Pro-Palestine language is typically featured in statements delivered at the AU’s annual summits. Palestine already has observer status at the African Union.

Israeli regime’s bid for admission to the AU comes amid the publication this week of an Amnesty International Report entitled; Israel’s Apartheid Against Palestinians; Cruel System of Domination and Crime Against Humanity.”

It says; “The organization has concluded that Israel has perpetrated the international wrong of apartheid, as a human rights violation and a violation of public international law.

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