Maputo — The Palestinian ambassador to Mozambique, Fayez Abdul Jawwad, has urged the Mozambican government to oppose the granting of observer status at the African Union to Israel.
In a letter to Mozambican Foreign Minister Veronica Macamo, dated 28 July, the ambassador protested that the decision to accept Israel as an observer was taken unilaterally by the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki.
Based on the longstanding relations between Mozambique and Palestine, Ambassador Jawwad requested that the government "submit an official objection to the relevant African Union authorities against the acceptance of Israel as an observer". He wanted the decision to be suspended until the AU member states had an opportunity to vote on it.
The decision taken by Moussa Faki, he said, "is an offence against the letter and the spirit of the Charter of the African Union".
Israel had once been an observer at the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), but lost that status in 2002, when the OAU transformed itself into the African Union. On 22 July Israel regained its observer status - but without any discussion among the AU member states.
Other states have protested. Thus Algeria declared that there is "total incompatibility" between the values, principles and objectives defended by Israel and those enshrined in the Constitutive Act of the African Union.
The South African government said it was "horrified" by Moussa Faki's decision, which was "inexplicable".
The AU Commission, the South African protest continued, ignored the death and destruction rained down on the Palestinians by Israel. As long as Israel is not prepared to negotiate with the Palestinians without any pre-conditions, it should not be granted observer status.
Namibia and Botswana also dissociated themselves from the decision of the AU Commission. Botswana's Ministry of International Affairs said the issue is "a sensitive matter" that should have been brought to the attention of all member states before a decision was taken.
Furthermore, Botswana "maintains that the continued occupation of Palestine by the State of Israel goes against the letter and spirit of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, as well as its obligation to respect and implement the respective Resolutions of the United Nations."