The South African government said on Wednesday it is “appalled” at the African Union Commission’s decision which granted Israel an official observer status at the African Union.

“The government of South Africa is appalled at the unjust and unwarranted decision of the AU Commission to grant Israel observer status in the African Union.

’’The African Union Commission has taken this decision unilaterally without consultations with its members,” said spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) Clayson Monyela.

“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.”

Last week, the Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia, Burundi and Chad, Aleli Admasu, presented his credentials to Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, at the continental bloc’s headquarters in Addis Ababa.

Monyela said 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.”

Monyela said 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,” he said.

“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.”

Monyela insisted that 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,” he said.

Israel previously had the observer status at the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), but its efforts to regain the standing have consistently failed in the African Union, which replaced the OAU.

Algiers has reportedly also voiced its condemnation of the decision of the African Union to grant Israel observer status to the pan-African organisation.

Editor@tech-talk.co.za

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