STANDOFF

Palestine welcomes SADC's objection to AU's admission of Israel observer status

The embassy thanked SADC members for “their moral and political leadership and for honoring Africa's legacy against colonialism”

In Summary

• The embassy thanked SADC members for “their moral and political leadership and for honoring Africa's legacy against colonialism”.

• It also called on all other African states to join SADC in being “the standard-bearer in the Palestinian struggle and to lead international efforts to end Israel’s colonial occupation and apartheid regime".

Palestine Ambassador Hazem Shabat
Palestine Ambassador Hazem Shabat
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

The Palestine embassy in Kenya has welcomed the objection of the Southern African Development Community to the  AU’s unilateral decision to grant Israel observer Status.

The embassy on Thursday said the position is in line with the declared positions of several other African states.

“SADC's position is in line with international law and the shared long history of solidarity and struggle against colonialism and oppression between the Palestinian and African peoples.

"This resolute objection, together with other states’ objections, will serve as a stark reminder that colonial occupation, racism, and endemic violations of international law, which continue to shackle Palestine, must not be rewarded or appeased,” the embassy said in a statement.

The embassy thanked SADC members for “their moral and political leadership and for honoring Africa's legacy against colonialism”.

It also called on all other African states to join SADC in being “the standard-bearer in the Palestinian struggle and to lead international efforts to end Israel’s colonial occupation and apartheid regime".

Israel was admitted as an observer state on July 22 after lobbying for 20 years. 

During the 41st Ordinary Summit of the heads of state of SADC that concluded on Wednesday, however, the leaders objected to the AU granting Israel observer status.

This resolute objection, together with other states’ objections, will serve as a stark reminder that colonial occupation, racism, and endemic violations of international law, which continue to shackle Palestine, must not be rewarded or appeased
Palestine Embassy 

The regional leaders in a communique expressed concern and objected to the unilateral decision taken by the African Union Commission to grant the State of Israel Observer Status to the AU.

The  AU member states from the south  have previously rejected Israel’s applications.

In July, Botswana rejected the admission, saying it is of the view the issue is sensitive and should have been brought to the attention of all AU member states, "particularly given the longstanding conflict between Israel and Palestine".

"Henceforth, the government of Botswana dissociates itself from the decision to grant observer status by the AU to the State of Israel," it said in a statement.

Namibian international relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah also told Namibian Sun the approval did not meet the basic principles of the AU.

“We are rejecting that approval because it does not meet the basic principles of the African Union, which includes the right to self-determination,” Nandi-Ndaitwah said.

Namibia has accused Israel of illegally occupying Palestine.

The South African Embassy in Ethiopia asked AU Commission chairman Mousa Faki  last month to explain the rationale behind the decision following rejections in 2013, 2015, and 2016.

“South African recalls that the union has consistently reiterated its support for the Palestinian people in security an independent and sovereign state with East Jerusalem as its capital and called on Israel to respect its international law obligations,” the South African government said.

“Notwithstanding, the powers of the chairperson of the African Union Commission that arise from Part II of the Criteria for Granting Observer Status and for a System of Accreditation within the African Union, this issue is sensitive and consultation with member states should have been undertaken before a decision was made."

However, the Palestinian embassy is calling on African states to push for accountability for “Israel’s crimes and not associate themselves with the only remaining and most brutal colonial project in the world today”.

This is even as  Israel termed the recognition of its observer status as a celebration for Israel-Africa relations,  and a mark of "wide-ranging partnerships and cooperation in many different fields including trade and aid."

“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. It will help us strengthen our activities on the African continent and with the member states of the organization,"  Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said last month.