SAMNET tells African Union: ‘Don’t sell your soul to war criminals’ after AU grants ‘observer status’ to Israel

We, the undersigned, are appalled and extremely disappointed with the decision made by the Secretary General of the African Union Commission, to grant Israel Observer Status in the African Union. Israel is an Apartheid state that is undeserving of such a privilege. The accreditation of the application from Israeli Ambassador, Mr Aleil Admasu, must be rescinded immediately.

Israel is guilty of committing war crimes since its inception and the continued blatant disregard of dozens of UN resolutions. Accepting the Israeli government into the African Union demonstrates that the AUC is supportive of Israel which contradicts the open declaration of support for Palestine by the AU. One cannot express support for people under occupation and oppression and at the same time be an enabler for the oppressor. Such involvement between Africa and Israel will leave the AU Commissioners with blood on your hands.

We condemn the decision to allow Israel into the AU for the following reasons

1. The Observer Status is a privilege that can only be granted to Non-African States/Organisations that are in ‘conformity with the spirit, objectives and principles of the Constitution of the African Union’. However, Israel’s actions and objectives contravene the values enshrined in the Charter of the AU.

2. This position will allow Israeli members to participate in the meetings and workings of the AU, furthermore, giving Israeli members ample opportunity to push forth their own agenda, infiltrate the other members of African countries, strengthen relationships with African leaders, as well as having free access to a multitude of resources to use to their advantage in their own political war against Palestine.

3. The more Israel becomes part of bodies like the AU, the less incentive there will be for Israel to bother stopping the ongoing oppression and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.

4. The Decision appears to have been made non-democratically, as a number of member states of the AU, including South Africa, have stated that they were not consulted when this decision was made.

5. A number of member states of the AU condemn and disagree with the decision to involve Israel in the AU until they end their illegal occupation in Palestine and agree to a peaceful co-existence of a two state solution. ALL members’ of ALL African States’ views and decisions should be incorporated and considered in such a major decision.

6. Israel is openly violating International Laws, committing war crimes and refuses to stop evicting Palestinians, killing innocent people as has been well documented.

7. Israel’s onslaught in Gaza just in this year alone has been established as ‘War Crimes’ by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch, Reporters without borders, Amnesty International and various other organizations. Granting them a position in the AU opposes recognition of Israeli war crimes.

8. If the Application made by Israel was rejected many times during the past 2 decades, surely nothing has changed to suddenly make Israel’s application fit for approval.

This was a crucial opportunity to set strict pre-conditions pending the approval of the application, to pressure Israel into stopping its illegal, colonial, inhumane and unlawful actions against Palestine and the people of Palestine. Only pressure from civil society to isolate Israel could dissuade it from continued oppression of Palestinians and attacks on Gaza. With our own roots in colonial history, it is revolting and illogical that Africa of all continents would ever welcome Israel and grant them such an honourable position in the Union.

Failure to rescind this decision will lead to the slow but ultimate destruction of the African Union and all the good that it stands for. Is it really worth sacrificing the sanctity of an entire Union and people of Africa, just to grant another position of power to War criminals?

We urge the AU to reconsider and revoke this contradictory decision as no member of the Israeli government should ever be afforded such close proximity to the workings of the AU and people of Africa.

Dr Faisel Suliman
Chairperson
South African Muslim Network (SAMNET)

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