Photo credit: Arabic Sputnik
The Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmad Aboul Gheit, welcomed on 6 February the African Union’s vote to suspend Israel’s “observer” status to the organization.
The vote took place at the 35th African Union summit, which began on 5 February and was held in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
The African Union, under its former chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, made a decision on 22 July to name Israel as an observer to the union, which had been postponed the previous month.
The decision to bump Israel received a unanimous vote at the African Union summit on 5 February.
This came on the heels of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh calling on the African Union to withdraw its July decision, stating that Israel “should never be rewarded for its violation and for the apartheid regime it imposes on the Palestinian people.”
“The decision to freeze Israel’s membership in the African Union is a corrective step, and is in line with the African Union’s historical positions in support of the Palestinian cause,” an Arab League statement said.
“This wise decision had to be taken on the basis of not rewarding Israel for its illegal practices against the Palestinian people,” the statement continued.
In August of last year, Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Mauritania formally rejected the chairperson’s decision to grant Israel observer status at the AU.
“The aforementioned embassies request the Chairperson of the Commission to include this issue on the subsequent session of the work of the Executive Council in accordance with paragraph 5 of Part Two of the criteria for granting observer status referred to above,” said a statement signed by the North African countries and addressed to the African Union.
The embassies of Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and Yemen, as well as the Arab League mission in the African Arab states also criticized the granting of observer status to Israel.