For decades, African countries have supported the Palestinian liberation struggle against Israel, seeing in it parallels with their own anti-colonial movements. Likewise, the African Union has not hesitated to criticise Israeli international law violations and occupation of Palestinian lands. Most recently, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat condemned Israel’s war on Gaza and its violent attacks against Palestinians in Jerusalem. So why on earth did the commission grant Israel the privilege of an observer status at the AU just two months later?
It is not like Israel has had a change of heart in its treatment of Palestinians. If anything, Israeli leaders have doubled down on what international human rights organisations have called war crimes and have persisted in their colonial policies, despite African condemnation. As South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has argued, Israel is erecting an apartheid system in Palestine akin to apartheid South Africa as colonisation, in the form of illegal, exclusively Jewish settlements, goes on unabated.
Some South African and Israeli observers have deemed Israel’s racist regime “far worse” than South Africa’s pre-1994, given the large-scale ethnic cleansing that has taken place in Palestine. All of this begs the question: Why would Mahamat, a seasoned politician, allow such a questionable and grave decision to be made without consultation with the member states?
*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.