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Israel blocks an attempt to oust it from the African Union

South Africa and Algeria call to revoke Israel's observer status on the grounds it is committing genocide in Gaza

African heads of state pose for a group photo with African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat during the opening of the 37th Ordinary session of the Assembly of the Africa Union at the African Union Headquarters, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia February 17, 2024. (Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)

A few weeks ago, Israel learned that South Africa and Algeria have been working to revoke Israel's observer status in the African Union.

On the Reshet Bet morning show with Aryeh Golan on Tuesday, it was reported that during the African Union convention on Tuesday, the two nations had a plan to call for severing relations with Israel and to insert a statement that Israel is committing genocide into the convention's proposed resolution.

The Israeli government began an extensive diplomatic effort, led by Foreign Affairs Minister Israel Katz which included the president, prime minister and the foreign minister of Israel sending requests and speaking with African leaders in an effort to thwart the proposal.

African ambassadors in their respective countries responded and, in some cases, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent senior officials to African states where Israel does not have a representative office.

The African nations gathered in Addis Ababa at the end of the week and Israel sent Energy Ministry Dir.-Gen. Kobi Blitstein and the deputy director of the Africa Division of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Sharon Bar-Li, to discuss thwarting the goals of South Africa and Algeria. In the end, Israel was able to maintain its status as an observer, after forming a coalition with African countries that opposed the move. The attempts to sever ties with Israel and to declare that Israel is committing genocide also failed.

About one year ago, an Israeli delegation led by Sharon Bar-Li was expelled from the 36th African Union Heads of State Summit Hall in Addis Ababa. The statement that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs published at the time stated: "It is sad to see that the African Union has been taken hostage by a small number of extremist countries such as Algeria and South Africa, driven by hatred and controlled by Iran. We call on the African countries to stand against these actions that harm the organization of the African Union itself and the entire continent.” 

Amichai Stein is a political correspondent for KAN 11.

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