For a long time, African nations have supported the Palestinian liberation wrestle towards Israel, seeing in it parallels with their very own anti-colonial actions. Likewise, the African Union has not hesitated to criticise Israeli worldwide regulation violations and occupation of Palestinian lands.
Most lately, Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat condemned Israel’s struggle on Gaza and its violent assaults towards Palestinians in Jerusalem. So why on earth did the fee grant Israel the privilege of an observer standing on the AU simply two months later?
It is just not like Israel has had a change of coronary heart in its remedy of Palestinians. If something, Israeli leaders have doubled down on what worldwide human rights organisations have known as struggle crimes and have continued of their colonial insurance policies, regardless of African condemnation.
As South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has argued, Israel is erecting an apartheid system in Palestine akin to apartheid South Africa as colonisation, within the type of unlawful, completely Jewish settlements, goes on unabated.
Some South African and Israeli observers have deemed Israel’s racist regime “far worse” than South Africa’s pre-1994, given the large-scale ethnic cleaning that has taken place in Palestine.
All of this begs the query: Why would Mahamat, a seasoned politician, permit such a questionable and grave resolution to be made with out session with the member states?
This is very disturbing contemplating that an absolute majority of African states have solely lately renewed their belief in Mahamat’s management, re-electing him for an additional four-year time period!
Already, some main nations from Algeria to South Africa have flatly rejected Israel’s admission to the Union, in any type, as incompatible with the values and rules of the AU constitution, demanding a proof and outright reversal.
Now, I realise that quite a few African and Arab leaders have appeased Israel as a technique to reach out to the United States. They reckon that Israel has main sway in Washington and could also be of assist to affect the selections of the world’s superpower of their favour.
Indeed, such pragmatism – learn opportunism – could have labored for the likes of Sudan in getting US sanctions lifted after it started normalising relations with Israel.
In different phrases, US leaders have inspired such malpractice, no much less the current administration, which claims to place human rights on the centre of its international coverage.
Mahamat’s personal impoverished and embattled home nation, Chad, has stepped up its relations with Israel over the previous 4 years for navy and strategic acquire.
But how does that relate to the African Union Commission? And why ought to the Palestinians all the time pay the worth?
After all, the Ethiopia-based AU Commission is just not a state; it’s a continental organisation that represents all 55 member states, most of whom have suffered terribly by the hands of the identical kind of repressive colonialism that’s besieging Palestine.
Africa’s inter and intra-state politics are too difficult to deal with in a single article, however there’s definitely a novel shared historical past and a sure commonality amongst African states that can’t be forgotten or ignored.
Not way back, Israel was straight implicated in supporting Western colonial enterprises in Africa. And it armed and educated among the worst African regimes in the course of the Cold War.
Even when Western nations distanced themselves from apartheid South Africa, Israel remained the racist regime’s finest buddy, praising apartheid and cooperating with Pretoria in nuclear weapons improvement.
Worse nonetheless, it by no means apologised for it. Ever.
And whereas Israel did attempt to enhance relations with African nations by offering numerous sorts of help and technical help over the previous twenty years, it has additionally armed among the continent’s unsavoury regimes.
Still, there’s nothing that Israel can supply Africa that it can not buy on the world market or acquire from the varied world powers vying for affect on the continent.
In different phrases, pragmatism doesn’t justify appeasing racism.
It is just not a coincidence that the late Nelson Mandela, who led reconciliation in South Africa, by no means reconciled with apartheid Israel and continued in his help for the Palestinian wrestle whereas vehemently opposing anti-Semitism.
I bear in mind his phrases all too clearly once I attended the Durban World Conference Against Racism 20 years in the past the place my e-book, Palestine/Israel: Peace or Apartheid, was launched.
Mandela urged the hundreds of attendees to struggle towards the “racism contagion”, which he described as a “disease” not distinctive to any individuals or continent, however an ailment of the human thoughts and soul.
Indeed, racism is aware of no nationality or faith.
But Israel, with the assistance of the US and different Western nations, sought to undermine the convention, fearing a condemnation of Zionism and Israeli racism and calls for of Western repatriations for African nations.
Per week later, al-Qaeda’s despicable 9/11 assaults on New York and Washington unleashed a worldwide barrage of racism towards Muslims and Arabs, together with Palestinians. And it has not stopped since, despite the fact that Muslims have been the foremost victims of terrorism.
Today, as Africans proceed to undergo from discrimination and prejudice, Africa have to be on the forefront within the struggle towards racism in all its types, together with non secular bigotry, nationwide chauvinism and settler colonialism.
The African Union Commission has an ethical and political accountability to guide such a struggle towards racism, not undermine it by way of cynical appeasement and empty declarations. Granting an apartheid regime the privilege to “observe” the African Union legitimises it and empowers Israeli leaders to hold on with their colonial enterprise in Palestine.