Israeli efforts at co-opting Africa countries received a major setback on Saturday, February, 6 when the African Union issued a strong statement of solidarity with Palestine, condemning Israel’s illegal settlement activities and the US’s so-called ‘Deal of the Century’.
African leaders reaffirmed in their 34th African Union Summit, held virtually in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, that all Israeli settlements erected on the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan, are illegal.
In the final statement of the two-day Summit, African leaders stressed that Israel’s settlements constitute serious violations of international humanitarian law and relevant United Nations resolutions, and defies the calls of the international community to stop all settlement activities.
I was pleased to attend the opening ceremony of the 34th ordinary session of the African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government. It went virtual due to #COVID19 pandemic.#Burundi pic.twitter.com/97rdu4IHmx
— Amb. Willy Nyamitwe (@willynyamitwe) February 6, 2021
They also reiterated their full support for the Palestinian people and their representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization, in their legitimate struggle against the Israeli occupation to restore their inalienable rights, including self-determination and independence.
African leaders expressed their desire to reach a just political solution to the Palestinian issue in accordance with the principles of international law and all relevant United Nations resolutions, leading to a complete end to the Israeli occupation, which began in 1967, and the independence of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, within the borders of June 4. 1967, and finding a just solution to the plight of the Palestinian refugees, in accordance with United Nations Resolution No. 194.
The final statement also called for the resumption of credible negotiations between the two sides, in order to achieve a just, comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East, through an international multilateral mechanism based on international consensus, international law and United Nations resolutions.
The African Union Summit also called on all members of the international community to preserve the legal status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine, respect international law and relevant United Nations resolutions in this regard, and refrain from any actions or decisions that undermine the legal status of the city, especially moving embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The Union stressed that any measures taken by Israel, the occupying power, to colonize the city of Jerusalem, including imposing its laws, jurisdiction and administration, are illegal measures, and therefore are null and void, and have no legitimacy whatsoever.
Moreover, the final statement called on the Israeli occupation authorities to immediately stop all these illegal and unilateral measures, including provocations and incitement against Christian and Islamic holy sites.
The African leaders condemned Israel’s use of lethal, unlawful and other excessive force against Palestinian civilians, including civilians who enjoy a special protection status under international law who do not pose an imminent threat to life.
They called for accountability for these unlawful acts as well as for the actions committed by Israeli settlers in the occupied Palestinian territories, stressing that Israel, the occupying power, is fully responsible for acts of violence committed against Palestinian civilians and their property.
The 34th Ordinary Session of the Summit of the Heads of States of the African Union is happening virtually this year
— ℳℴhamed Keita (@ModKeita) February 6, 2021
African leaders also emphasized the rejection of any unfair or partial solutions, including the so-called “Deal of the Century”, stressing that they will work tirelessly with other international actors to ensure the independence of the State of Palestine within the borders of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Palestinians Welcome AU Statement
The Palestinian leadership welcomed the strong AU statement of solidarity with their cause, particularly the continent’s support for the creation of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.
“We deeply appreciate African solidarity for the Palestinian cause, and are particularly appreciative of the AU’s call to its members to preserve the legal status of East Jerusalem as the capital of the future Palestinian state, and refrain from any actions that undermine the legal status of the city, particularly moving embassies to Jerusalem,” Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa Hanan Jarar said Monday.
“The AU Summit’s final statement reflects the deeply-rooted bonds between Africa’s anti-colonial struggles and that of the Palestinian people, and the deep-seated historic solidarity between the peoples of Africa and Palestine.”
The Palestinian group Hamas also welcomed the statement.
“We welcome the African Union condemnation of the Israeli settlement and its call to end any form of relation with the [Israeli] occupation,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) January 26, 2021
Abu Zuhri also praised the AU’s “historical” support for the Palestinian cause.
Ramzy Baroud, a Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle, has argued that Africa’s strong stance in solidarity with the Palestinian people is rooted in shared struggles and common histories.
“Despite its many successes in luring African governments to its web of allies, Israel has failed to tap into the hearts of ordinary Africans who still view the Palestinian fight for justice and freedom as an extension of their own struggle for democracy, equality and human rights,” Baroud said.
(The Palestine Chronicle, WAFA, Social Media)