Israel admitted to the African Union (AU) as an observer state: a decision that divides

Many African countries say they were not consulted for the decision taken during the summer by the chairman of the AU commission, Chadian Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Israel became, on July 22, 2021, a member of the African Union with observer status. Aleli Admasu, the Israeli Ambassador to Addis Ababa, presented his credentials to the Chairman of the AU Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, at the end of July, and submitted the Charter of Israel as an observer member to the African Union, according to a discreet statement from the Pan-African organization.

Diplomatic victory

A diplomatic victory for the Jewish state, after a very long battle. The Israeli government celebrated the event in a statement.

“It is a day of celebration for Israeli-African relations. It corrects an anomaly that has lasted for nearly two decades and is an important part of strengthening Israel’s foreign relations.”

Yaïr Lapid, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Journal Times of Israel

Israel had this observer status within the Organization of African Unity (OAU) ancestor of the African Union. But in 1973, all OAU member countries severed diplomatic relations with Israel in solidarity with Egypt, part of whose territory, Sinai, was occupied by the Israeli army following the Yom Kippur War.

Israel now maintains relations with 46 African countries out of the 55 in the AU. The Hebrew state recently re-established diplomatic relations with Chad, Guinea, and Sudan (following its adherence to the Abrahamic Accords). It has also strongly strengthened its ties with Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia. So many allies on the continent.

Request for explanations

Requests for explanations are in return from several countries opposed to this observer status. South Africa said it was “appalled by the unjust and unjustified decision of the AU Commission to grant Israel observer status in the African Union”. The AU Commission took the “unilateral decision” without consulting its members, according to South Africa’s foreign ministry.

“Israel continues to illegally occupy Palestine in disregard of its international obligations and UN resolutions. The decision to grant it observer status is even more shocking in this year when the oppressed people of Palestine have been persecuted by destructive bombing and continued illegal settlement on its lands. ” denounced South African diplomacy.

Historical support of Palestine, Pretoria called on Moussa Faki to explain his decision. Algiers, Tunis, Cairo, Nouakchott and Tripoli have also opposed Israel’s presence in the AU, due to the Palestinian issue.

The Palestinian Authority, for its part, enjoys this observer status at the AU, where it has significant support. In his statement, the President of the Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat underlines that the AU “has been very clear on its position according to which, in the question of Palestine and Israel, a two-state solution is necessary for a peaceful coexistence “.

Strengthened partnerships

Israel, for its part, claims to have forged large-scale partnerships with African countries, particularly in the fields of agriculture, the fight against terrorism, high tech … The Hebrew state explains that it wants to strengthen its ties. with Africa, because of its geographical proximity to the continent, but also because it has large communities of Ethiopian and Moroccan origin.

According to the few African countries which have spoken publicly on the subject, no general consultation was held with the 55 member states before the accreditation of the Israeli ambassador was recorded by the president of the Commission of the UA. But only a dozen countries seem really opposed to it.

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