Israel Rejoins The African Union: Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has announced that Israel will re-join the African Union (AU) as an observer member, 19 years after it was expelled from the pan-African organization as a result of the campaign from then-Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. Since the suspension of membership in the African Union in 2002, when the union was founded to replace the Organization of African Unity, Israel has pushed hard to become a member of the organization.
On Thursday, Aleleign Admasu, Israel’s ambassador to Addis Ababa, officially presented Israel’s charter as an observer member to the 55-member continental body, which was officially accepted. “Today is a day of celebration for the connections between Israel and Africa,” stated Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. “This diplomatic achievement is the product of the efforts of the Foreign Ministry, the African Division, and Israeli embassies across the African continent,” said the Foreign Ministry.
Lapid stated, “This corrects an anomaly that existed for nearly two decades and is an important component of Israel’s efforts to improve the fabric of its international relationships.” This will assist us in strengthening our work on the continent and in the member countries of the organization.”
Israel had attempted to rejoin the organization twice in recent years, but both attempts were unsuccessful. When it came to this round, the Foreign Ministry announced a “diplomatic operation” that included a visit to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa by the Foreign Ministry’s director-general for African affairs, Aliza Ben-Noun, during which she met with more than 30 ambassadors from member countries, according to Haaretz.
Israel’s admission to the African Union (AU) as an observer state will not only boost its cooperation with member countries on many economic and security matters, but it will also reflect “political recognition” by the African Union. “This political recognition is extremely important because it is not enough to simply have good bilateral relations with the member states,” Ben-Nun told Haaretz, adding that Israel can now work to strengthen ties with the remaining African countries with which it does not currently have diplomatic relations.
It said in a statement that, once the relationship with Africa is established, the parties will be able to cooperate in areas such as the fight against the coronavirus and preventing extremist terrorism from spreading across Africa.
Israel maintains formal diplomatic relations with 46 African countries, all of which are members of the African Union. After the countries of Guinea and Chad severed their diplomatic relations with Israel in 1967 and 1972, respectively, Israel has reestablished diplomatic relations with both countries in recent years. Israel will also execute a normalization agreement with Sudan in October 2020, which will take effect from January 2021. As a result, having a physical presence at AU meetings now helps Israel to “understand what is going on” and stay up to date with “political developments and initiatives” on the AU’s agenda, according to experts quoted in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
“Israel had been expelled by Gaddafi – after 19 years, Israel has been admitted as an observer to the African Union. According to Ashok Swain, a professor of peace and conflict study who responded to the news on Twitter, “it indicates evolving geopolitics in North Africa.”
“The destabilizer of the Middle East has set his sights on the African Union,” says the source. Africa will be saved by God, according to another Twitter user. A third person added, “That was the grand plan to destabilize the Middle East and North Africa in order to prepare the way for Israel’s legitimization.”
The cause for Gaddafi’s removal from power, according to one source, was just this.
“Can you tell me what Israel is watching in the AU?” another person inquired.
‘The African Union is an abject shame,’ I say. They have the option of granting Israel observer status, but they will categorically reject Haiti. The organization of nasty kewns,” said another Twitter user.
“Israel is moving deep into Africa, which is a great development given that they have now been granted observer status in the African Union,” one person wrote.
During the latter half of his 12 years in government, Israel’s connections with Africa were a top concern for Benjamin Netanyahu, the country’s former prime minister. According to the Times Of Israel, in 2016, he became the first Israeli prime minister to visit the continent in decades when he traveled to four East African countries: Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia. “There are 50 countries in Africa,” he stated, referring to Kenya. “It’s possible that almost all of them are Israeli friends. They vote in international forums, and I know some people don’t believe me, but I believe we can change the automatic majorities in the United Nations and other organizations if we start shifting our thinking.”
An agricultural conference co-sponsored by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Mashav, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, was held in Jerusalem that same year, bringing together ministers and other officials from a number of Western African countries.
Apart from strongly believing that the country’s absence from the African Union had negatively impacted the country’s ability to vote in international forums as a result of the country’s voice not being heard, Israel has always believed that readmitting the country to the AU as an observer will aid in the attraction of Israeli investment to Africa. However, Israel’s tainted relationship with the African continent has remained a stumbling block.
The African Union (AU) gave Palestine observer status at its 21st summit in Ethiopia in 2013, expressing support for the Palestinian struggle to build an independent, viable state with East Jerusalem as its capital and expressing solidarity with the people of Palestine. The organization also expressed worry about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and other Arab regions, which it claimed was in violation of international humanitarian law. Since 2013, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has addressed the African Union, a move that Israel considers to be a disadvantage because it will require the assistance of the vast bloc of African countries in order to push through its expansion agenda into Palestinian occupied territory.
Since 1948, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been centered on the question of who gets to rule what territory and how it is controlled. In the eastern Mediterranean Sea, Israel, the world’s only Jewish state, is located immediately east of the Jordan River. In the eyes of Palestinians, the Arab population who descends from the land that Israel currently occupies, the territory is known as Palestine, and they wish to build a state under that name on all or part of the same land. Consequently, a succession of battles between Israel and the surrounding Arab countries over the land had erupted, resulting in the deaths and injuries of many people. Following the 1967 war, Israel gained control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which were both home to sizable Palestinian populations at the time.
The primary answer, according to some, is a “two-state solution” in which Palestine would be established as an independent state in Gaza and most of the West Bank while Israel would retain control of the remaining land. More and more countries are being pressed to express their views on the Israeli occupation as the Palestinian struggle for freedom and human rights gained international attention. Most African countries, including Ethiopia, Tanzania, and South Africa, have never shied away from expressing their views on the Israeli occupation.
Africa has already endured a tumultuous history that includes the slave trade, colonialism, apartheid, and genocide, and it would not wish to see a replay of Israel’s version of apartheid on Palestinians, as it has done in the past. Due to Israel’s harsh and discriminatory treatment of economic migrants and refugees, particularly those from Sudan and Eritrea, African countries had been even more hesitant to admit the country to the African Union. The Israeli government has been eager to expel African asylum seekers after making fruitless threats of unlawful deportation of approximately 40,000 people to other nations, jail, and even suspension of a United Nations refugee agency agreement to relocate them to Western countries.
For the most part, African countries have been perplexed as to how Israel would be able to make its alleged great contributions to the continent while continuing to be hostile to people from the continent.