Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called on the African Union (AU) on Saturday to revoke Israel’s observer status as heads of state from the 55-member body met in Addis Ababa for a two-day summit.
“Israel should never be rewarded for its violations of international law and for the apartheid regime it imposes on the Palestinian people,” he stated.
PM Mohammed Shtayyeh stated, “Israel should never be rewarded in any way for its violations and for the apartheid regime that it has imposed on the Palestinian people.”
Addis Ababa is anticipated to be dominated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict this weekend, which is a rarity for a group that promotes unanimity. Israel’s accreditation to the African Union Commission was a source of friction last July when the head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, accepted it.
An outraged South Africa was among the powerful AU member nations who objected to Faki’s move because it contradicted prior AU statements in favor of the Palestinian Territories, including his own.
This commitment to Palestinian independence is “unchanging and can only continue to become stronger,” Faki said earlier in the day on Saturday. A “calm debate” on the matter was called for, but he stood by his decision, claiming it could be a “tool in the service of peace.”
Faki’s decision might also be the subject of a vote at the summit. Having been denied accreditation for over two decades, Israeli diplomats finally achieved what the foreign ministry had described as an “anomaly” in their prior exclusion.
When the Organization of African Unity (OAU) was dismantled and replaced by the African Union (AU) in 2002, Israel lost its accreditation. Until his death in 2011, Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi wielded control over the African Union. The Israeli government blamed him for the snub. There are already 72 countries, regional blocs and organizations accredited, including North Korea, the EU and UNAIDS according to the AU’s official website.