An Israeli delegation to the African Union summit in Addis Ababa was expelled from the opening ceremony on Saturday, the Israeli foreign ministry said.
The Israeli Ministry accused South Africa and Algeria of a serious diplomatic violation.
According to the Israeli news website Walla, which first reported the incident, security guards approached the Israeli delegation during the ceremony and demanded that they leave.
Israeli delegation expelled from opening ceremony of African Union Summit. pic.twitter.com/jlv4RvivqF
— The Palestine Chronicle (@PalestineChron) February 18, 2023
Israeli ministry spokesman Lior Hayat said that “Israel takes seriously the incident in which Deputy Ambassador for Africa Sharon Bar-Li was removed from the African Union hall despite her status as an accredited observer with badges.”
Hayat blamed Algeria and South Africa, saying:
“It is sad to see the African Union held hostage by a small number of extremist countries, such as Algeria and South Africa, driven by hatred and controlled by Iran.”
“We call on African countries to stand up against these actions, which are damaging to the African Union organization itself and the entire continent,” Hayat added.
Israel was readmitted as an observer country to the pan-African bloc in 2021. In January 2022, however, Algerian diplomats introduced a motion to revoke Israel’s newly reinstated observership.
“The current split in the African Union over Israel’s observer membership status is emblematic of a larger conflict that could potentially split the African continent’s largest political institutions,” Palestinian journalist and editor of The Palestine Chronicle Ramzy Baroud wrote in a recent article, adding:
“The solid support that Palestine enjoys among an influential block at the African Union, in addition to the popular support the Palestinian cause continues to receive throughout Africa, indicates that, despite the mistakes of the past, Palestine remains a central issue on the continent.”
“A region that has paid, and continues to pay, a heavy price for colonialism, neo-colonialism and apartheid has no need to ‘do businesses with another colonial apartheid regime,” Baroud concluded.
(The Palestine Chronicle)
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