Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Saturday urged the African Union to withdraw Israel’s observer status, which it received last July.

“Israel should never be rewarded for its violation and for the apartheid regime it does impose on the Palestinian people,” said Shtayyeh at the opening of a two-day summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, according to international media reports. “Your excellencies, I’m sorry to report to you that the situation of the Palestinian people has only grown more precarious.”

Later he tweeted: “Today I called upon #AUSummit2022 to withdraw Israel’s observer status. Granting Israel such status is an undeserved reward. Palestine is confident in Africa’s support to our people under Israel’s prolonged and belligerent occupation.”

Summit attendees were meant to vote on whether to maintain Israel’s status, but ultimately the vote was deferred until next year’s assembly. In the meantime, a committee was formed to examine Israel’s standing.

Josh Reinstein, president of the Israel Allies Foundation, told JNS that he believes support for Israel in Africa will not be shaken.

“Through faith-based diplomacy, Bible-believing Christians across Africa have been rallying to the cause of Israel and they have brought their governments with them,” said Reinstein. “Support for Israel will continue to grow in Africa, and nothing can stop it.”

He added that he would like to thank Felix Tshisekedi, president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), for “his moral clarity concerning Israel. His faith and support have been an inspiration to all of Africa.”

Tshisekedi, who also serves as chairman of the African Union, was one of the key proponents of granting Israel observer status in the member organization—a move that received strong pushback from some of the union’s 55 member states, including South Africa and Algeria.

Tshisekedi visited Israel at the end of last year and met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, announcing that his country would open a diplomatic and trade office in Jerusalem.

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), also accepted Israel’s accreditation to the bloc.

The AUC is the AU’s secretariat and undertakes the day-to-day activities of the Union, its website explains.


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