Why Is South Africa Leading Calls Against Israel at The African Union?

Published September 19th, 2021 - 06:13 GMT
African Union and Israel
Israel was granted observer's status at the African Union last August. (Shutterstock)

Last August, the African Union granted Israel observer's status at the continental organization, a decision that has sparked a lot of political questions even amongst the continent's largest countries.

Prior to the dissolving of the Organization of African Unity in 2002, Israel had always been trying to keep close ties with Africa's countries and the political bodies that represented them. However, for two decades, Israel's attempts to join the African Union have failed.

It was not until last month that the African bloc welcomed Israel as an observer member, in what Israel considered "a diplomatic achievement". According to the Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid, "the Membership will help us strengthen our activities on the African continent and with the member states of the organization".


Yet, several countries at the African Union have been expressing dissatisfaction with the decision that was taken by the AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat, the former Prime Minister of Chad.

In the statement in which he welcomed Israel last month, Faki Mahamat reassured member states that this decision will "not weaken the unflinching commitment of the Pan-African Organisation to the fundamental rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to establish an independent National State, with East Jerusalem as its capital, within the framework of a global, fair and definitive peace between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine".

Meanwhile, South Africa, Algeria, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia have called on the AU to rescind the decision they described as "unilateral" at the next Executive Council which will be held in October 2021.

Moreover, a petition has been signed by a number of international lawyers, researchers, and activists requesting that the AU revokes Israel's observer status at the organization. 

The human rights violations committed by Israel are contrary to the spirit and purport of the Charter of the African Union, particularly relating to issues of self-determination and decolonization as Israel continues to illegally occupy Palestine in violation of its international obligations and multiple UN resolutions. - Peition

A group of international lawyers, researchers, and activists today filed a complaint with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights seeking the revocation of Israel's observer status at the African Union (AU), Anadolu Agency reports.

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