South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation on Wednesday condemned the African Union (AU) Commission’s decision to award Israel observer status.
Israel obtained the observer status last week when Aleleign Admasu, Israel’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, presented his credentials as an observer to the AU. At the same time, HE Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the AU Commission, stated that a two-state solution is essential for the peaceful co-existence of Palestine and Israel.
In response, Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid said, “this diplomatic achievement is the result of consistent work.” He further added, “this corrects the anomaly that has existed for almost two decades and is an important part of strengthening the fabric of Israel’s foreign relations.” Previously, Israel enjoyed the observer status in the Organization of African Unity, but it was revoked when the organization was dissolved in 2002.
South Africa said in a sharply worded statement that it is “appalled” by the African Union Commission’s “unjust and unwarranted decision,” and that the decision “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 statement further noted that the Commission made the decision without consulting its members and that Israel’s unjust acts in Palestine violate the letter and spirit of the AU Charter.
The South African government also said that Israel should not have the status of an observer unless it is willing to negotiate a peace plan without preconditions. Earlier this week, Algeria had condemned the Commission’s decision to grant Israel observer status in the AU.