Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands contrary to principles of African Union: South Africa FM

2023-02-22 18:12:58

South Africa’s foreign minister has condemned Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands, saying the regime’s apartheid policies is contrary to the values and principles of the African Union.

Naledi Pandor also took offence at the notion that South Africa was partly responsible for the removal of an Israeli representative at the AU assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the weekend.

“The notion that I stand up and remove any person in the hall is quite insulting and demeaning,” she said.

Pandor was clarifying reports that a senior Israeli diplomat was removed from the AU annual summit on Saturday in Ethiopia’s capital, after a dispute over Israel's accreditation to the bloc escalated.

Video circulating on social media showed guards escorting Israeli ambassador Sharon Bar-li out of the AU assembly hall in Addis Ababa.

Clarifying the matter, Pandor told Asharq News she had read about the removal of a person “who was not authorised to be in the assembly opening ceremony. And I was very surprised to hear the reference, in very pejorative words to South Africa ... I am not a security official at the AU nor do I work for the administration of the commission and so the notion that I stand up and remove any person in a hall is quite insulting and demeaning.

“And so, I was very surprised. I believe that the Israeli colleague is probably aware that we have objected to the commission chairperson’s unilateral decision to grant Israel observer status in our union.

“We have objected to this because we believe that the continued occupation of the land of Palestinian people, as well as the building of new settlements, the prohibition on movements and that Palestinian people have to carry ID documents to travel on different roads from other persons living in the area, that they cannot build their own homes and be assured that their land will not be occupied.”

These, she said, were all infringements of the contents of the AU Union charter.

“And so on the grounds of Israel not reflecting the values, principles and objectives of the AU ... we have expressed the view that they cannot be an observer in our organisation.”


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