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S/Africa protests AU’s decision to grant Israel observer status

South Africa is “appalled” at the “unjust and unwarranted” decision of the African Union Commission to grant Israel observer status…

South Africa is “appalled” at the “unjust and unwarranted” decision of the African Union Commission to grant Israel observer status in the AU, the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said on Wednesday.According to reports, Israel last week obtained observer status at the AU, which is has been demanding for many years since 2002 — and this was seen as a diplomatic victory for Tel Aviv. 

The AU took “this decision unilaterally without consultations with its members,” the ministry said.

It added: “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 ministry said the AU “strenuously” objected to the deaths of Palestinians and the destruction of civilian infrastructure.

“The decision by the AU Commission in this context is, therefore, inexplicable,” it added.

Israel has relations with 46 of the AU member states and it enjoyed observer status with the Organisation of African Unity until 2002 when the organisation dissolved and became the AU.

South Africa believed that the unjust actions committed by Israel offended “the letter and spirit of the Charter of the AU,” the ministry said.

“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,” it said.

South Africa Israel continued to illegally occupy Palestine in complete defiance of its international obligations and relevant United Nations 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 ministry said.

Meanwhile, the South African government said it would request AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat to brief all member states on this decision, which the ministry hoped would be discussed by the executive council and the assembly of heads of state and government. 

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