By Ali Karbalaei

Israel humiliated at the African Union summit

February 21, 2023 - 22:39

TEHRAN - In a major blow to the Tel Aviv regime, an Israeli diplomat was escorted by security guards out of the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on February 18.

The AU has said that Israel's observer status at the bloc has been suspended and that means no representative of the entity had even been invited to the summit this year.

But that didn't stop the regime's foreign ministry's deputy director general for Africa, Sharon Bar-li from infiltrating the gathering. 

However, as the conference got underway, footage went viral on social media showing security guards confronting the official and escorting the Israeli diplomat out of the assembly hall.

The incident has sparked furious Israeli reactions in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The regime is known to be very wary of its international public relations and how it is viewed in the public eye around the globe.

The AU affirmed its full support for the Palestinian people in their "legitimate struggle against the Israeli racist colonial occupation."As a pariah self-proclaimed "state", the regime needs as much international recognition as it can get.

The latest episode will prove difficult for Israel to sugarcoat. 

It has made attempts to divert attention from the controversy by condemning the "severe" expulsion and accusing Iran of orchestrating the move with help from Algeria and South Africa.

But the AU commission head Moussa Faki Mahamat told reporters in very simple terms "we did not invite Israeli officials to our summit."

For decades Israel has been lobbying African governments in a bid to join the AU.

The occupation regime finally succeeded in 2021 to obtain an observer status.

But that led to protests within the pan-African bloc over the decision by the AU commission chief.

The move was met with anger from member states including South Africa and Algeria who argued the decision contradicted the AU's position of supporting the Palestinian cause.

Last year, the AU summit suspended the debate on whether to withdraw the official recognition of Israel and instead established a committee to address the controversial matter.

Mahamat explained that in 2022 "we discussed the question of Israel's status as an observer in the African Union. Following these various discussions, the conference decided to set up an ad hoc committee of heads of state on the question, which means that the statute is suspended until this committee can deliberate."

The Palestinian Fatah party as well as resistance movements Hamas and Islamic Jihad have praised the African Union for expelling the Israeli diplomat from the summit.He added, "That means that the (Israeli) status is suspended until such time as this committee can deliberate." 

The AU has also rejected Israeli claims that Bar-li was "an accredited observer with an entry tag." 

In other words, no Israeli official had been invited to the AU summit this year.

Asked about Israel's accusations that South Africa and Algeria were behind the move, a spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa hit back arguing "they must substantiate their claim."

Another AU official said the Israeli diplomat who was "asked to leave" had essentially used a non-transferable invitation only issued to Israel's ambassador to the African Union. 

"It is regrettable that the individual in question would abuse such a courtesy," the official added.

The African National Congress (ANC) said it was encouraged by the ousting of the Israeli delegation from the AU Summit in Addis Ababa.

The ANC is a political party in South Africa. A liberation movement known for its opposition to apartheid, it has governed the country since 1994, when the first post-apartheid election elected Nelson Mandela as President of South Africa.

“The ANC’s stated views on apartheid Israel remains relevant to this day. Independent reports of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch firmly define the character of Israel as that of an apartheid state,” the ruling party said in a press statement.

The statement added, “Instead of awaiting outcomes of deliberations on their possible observer status, Israel simply chose to undermine the AU’s 55 African member states”.

The ANC pointed out that Israel should instead take measures to bring an end to the hardships suffered by Palestinians.

“All peace-loving nations rooting for a world premised on a better life for all should be consistent in their calls for apartheid Israel to be respectful of human life as well as past agreements on how to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

If any country in the world knows anything about apartheid, it is South Africa. Therefore, it's not surprising to hear such statements emerging from the country's government against Israeli apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories. 

South Africa's ruling party has historically been a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause.

"We found that there is a personality who entered the room with a badge and, naturally, we asked him to leave the premises. We are in the process of making the necessary investigations because he does not reside here, he came from Israel and when never someone arrives here, he is invited, he is invited by the chairperson of the African Union Commission. The official was not invited," Mahamat further explained.

The AU has not said whether Israel's observer status would be up for discussion at this year's summit.

Africa's department of international relations told Reuters “It’s not about South Africa or Algeria, it's an issue of principle."

The Palestinian resistance in the besieged Gaza Strip has welcome the expulsion.

The Hamas movement has hailed all efforts to block the "Israeli occupation" from attending the annual summit in a move that is "in line with the values and principles of the African Union."

In a press statement, a spokesperson praised the AU's stance in support of the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian people's legitimate rights to end the occupation and establish a fully sovereign Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital.

The Hamas spokesperson called on the "brotherly and friendly" African states to embrace such honorable positions and alienate the Israeli regime and its racist and fascist government from the AU.

The Islamic Jihad Movement described the expulsion as "an important step that reflects the strength of the African countries' positions, particularly Algeria and South Africa."

The Palestinians Fatah movement has also lauded the stance of South Africa and all African countries, saying they "stood by the Palestinian right and opposed Israel's accession to the African Union."

At the conclusion of its summit, the AU affirmed its full support for the Palestinian people in their "legitimate struggle against the Israeli racist colonial occupation."

The summit declaration deplored the continued "Israeli intransigence and the rejection of successive governments' initiatives and repeated calls from the Palestinian leadership and the international community to engage in peaceful negotiations."

It called on all member states to continue providing support to the Palestinians and reject Israel's violation of the rights and basic freedoms of the Palestinian people.

Likewise, the AU welcomed the adoption by the UN General Assembly at its 77th session of the “request for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice regarding the existence of the Israeli colonial occupation on the land of the State of Palestine and the implications of this presence and the illegal practices associated with it,” calling on member states to support the State of Palestine in this endeavor.

The AU further condemned the Israeli colonial practices that apply the system of apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territories by discriminating between the Palestinian and Israeli populations on the basis of race and religion, and "granting the Zionists superiority in rights and privileges over the Palestinian land owners."

The Union also stressed its rejection of the continued aggression on the besieged Gaza Strip, expressing its deep concern about the deteriorating economic and humanitarian conditions in the coastal enclave.

In a speech at the summit, Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit warned of an explosive situation in Palestine as a result of the escalation of "Israeli violations" in recent months, pointing out that al-Quds is being subjected to a "Judaization scheme."

In a further development that has angered Israel, the UN Security Council passed a unanimous statement (albeit watered down from a resolution last week to avoid a U.S. veto) that strongly condemned the regime's settlement activity. 

Meanwhile, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico issued a joint statement saying they were "profoundly worried" by Israel's decision to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank, noting Israel's move violated international law.

It's fair to say this has been a difficult week for the regime with countries across the world condemning its escalating aggression. 


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