SA anger over Israel’s AU observatory status

South Africa’s government has said it is “appalled” by last week’s decision to grant Israel observatory status at the African Union (AU).

Its foreign office accused the body of making a “unilateral” decision without consulting its 55 member countries.

“The decision… is more shocking in a year in which oppressed people of Palestine were hounded by destructive bombardments and illegal settlements of the land,” the Department of International Relations and Cooperation said.

“The unjust actions committed by Israel offend the letter and spirit of the Charter of the African Union,” it added.

The statement also said South Africa would ask AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat to give a briefing to member states.

The move has also outraged South African opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

It has called on Mr Faki to resign, saying his decision was “shameful” and “an assault on Palestinian human rights”.

Israel had held observer status at the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was disbanded and replaced by the AU in 2002.

Its efforts to re-join had been thwarted by some AU member countries.

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