Africans Up In Arms Over Israel Observer Status

Pressure is mounting on African Union (AU) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat to reverse his unilateral decision to award observer status to Israel.

South Africa is leading the charge to have the decision reviewed. 

On Thursday President Cyril Ramaphosa said: “We are opposed to it”. He said given the recent violence against Palestinians Israel could not be “warmly welcomed”.

Ramaphosa said other countries were also opposed to the unilateral decision taken by the AU chairperson to award Israel the observer status.

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Civil society groups from across Africa have united to call on the AU to reverse the decision.

On Wednesday, the Umbrella for Democratic Change in Botswana, Labour Economists and Afrikan Democrats in Zimbabwe, and Namibia’s Landless People’s Movement all rejected the move.

They were joined by the Centre for People’s Resistance, Socialist Forum of Ghana, Pan-Afrikan Renaissance group in Uganda, Guinea’s All-African Revolutionary People’s Party, Economic Fighters League of Ghana, and Nigerian branch of the Christian group Kairos. 

Coming together as the Pan-African Palestine Solidarity Network (PAPSN), the groups included Botswana Federation of Public Private and Parastatal Sector Unions, and Botswana Federation of Trade Unions.

The Socialist Students and Workers Network in Ghana, Ghanaian branch of the International Socialist Organisation, as well as Palestine solidarity organisations from Malawi, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Kenya and South Africa also voiced their disapproval.

In a strong statement, they described Mahamat’s decision as “undemocratic and unilateral”, sidestepping the AU’s norms of procedure. 

This, they say, “risks undermining the stability and credibility of the AU.”