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The apartheid government of Israel is causing divisions among African nations as it reapplies for observer status in the African Union.
Some of the opposition by AU member states is based on procedural issues while for others it is the Israeli treatment of Palestinians during the Israeli occupation which has lasted for over 54 years.
Israel had observer status with the Organisation of African Unity until that continental body became the African Union in 2002. African Union Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat has now opened the door to Israel again however not every member state is open to the decision.
Israel wants to join a growing list of more than 90 external partners endorsed by the African Union. If approved, Israel would have limited access to AU documents and sit as an observer when invited to meetings. Accredited non-African states and organizations are expected to support the AU’s work in the spirit of its founding principles.
However, the African Union as a body has called for an ‘end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine that started in 1967, and also called for the independence of the state of Palestine on the boundaries of June 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.’
Countries that have criticized Faki’s decision claim that all African member states are unlikely to support Israel’s accreditation, given the AU’s political stance on Palestine.
If one African Union member state objects to a non-African state’s accreditation, the AU Executive Council must decide the issue and those opposing Faki on the issue say the AU rejected two previous applications by Israel in 2013 and 2016 for this very reason. As the situation in Palestine hasn’t changed, they argue, neither should Israel’s status. They claim the move would be against the AU’s founding principles and vision.
For more information on this story, go to All Africa.com.