Pan-Africanism or Zionism: the AU and the liberation of Palestine

Several African states opposed the unilateral decision of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to grant observer status to the State of Israel.

Since it was announced by international media at the end of July that the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, had granted observer status to the State of Israel, the response has been swift in the convictions of several AU Member States.

This action, which was carried out in the absence of any consultation with the 55 member states and other entities with observer status such as the Palestinian Authority (PA), has been described as a violation of the country’s own legal protocols. AU related to international relations.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called Mahamat’s decision “appalling”, especially in light of the recent Israel Defense Forces (IDF) bombing of the besieged Gaza Strip and continued attacks by police and police. IDF against Palestinian civilians in other occupied territories.

South Africa, under the leadership of the African National Congress (ANC), has maintained close ties with the Palestinian Authority. In South Africa itself, there has been a vigorous movement of solidarity with Palestine for many years. President Nelson Mandela (1918-2013), founding leader of democratic South Africa after 1994, defended the ANC’s position on Palestinian liberation as early as 1990 when he visited the United States after being released from 27 years imprisonment under apartheid regime.

Israel has been called an apartheid state requiring international sanctions and isolation of all nations. However, it was the United States under successive administrations that funded the State of Israel to the tune of billions a year while providing military assistance as well as diplomatic cover. President Joe Biden’s current administration had even refused to call for a ceasefire as the IDF destroyed all of Gaza’s infrastructure, denied Palestinians access to holy sites in Jerusalem, and forcibly evicted Arab residents. neighborhoods designated by Tel Aviv as Jewish land. .

It was the advent of mass protests largely led by American Arabs in cities like Dearborn, Michigan, that pressured the Biden administration to push Israel to end general bombing in Gaza and brutal attacks in d other areas of the occupied areas of Palestine. A coalition of members of the US Congress was threatening to withhold an additional aid allocation from Washington to Tel Aviv. After the declaration of a ceasefire brokered by Egypt, the same anti-Palestinian policies continued.

A statement by the South African government released on July 29 by the Department for Cooperation and International Relations said about the action of the chairperson of the AU Commission in granting observer status to Israel. that: “The decision of the AU Commission in this context is inexplicable. The unjust actions committed by Israel undermine the letter and the spirit of the Charter of the African Union. The AU embodies the aspirations of all Africans and reflects their confidence that it can lead the continent through the concrete expression of the objectives of the Charter, especially on issues relating to self-determination and decolonization. Israel continues to illegally occupy Palestine in total disregard of its international obligations and relevant United Nations resolutions. It is therefore incomprehensible that the AU Commission chooses to reward Israel at a time when its oppression of the Palestinians has been clearly more brutal. The South African government will ask the President of the Commission to provide a briefing to all Member States on this decision which we hope will be discussed by the Executive Council and the Assembly of Heads of State and Government. (https://www.gov.za/speeches/south-africa-objects-african-union-commission-decision-grant-israel-observer-status-29-jul)

Other states such as Botswana, Namibia and Algeria also denounce the failure of the AU Commission to fulfill its responsibilities as defined in the charter. The AU Commission based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, is responsible for defending the interests of the organization under the leadership of the Assembly and the Executive Council. (https://au.int/en/commission)

An article from the China Global Television Network (CGTN) says: “Botswana dissociated itself from the African Union’s decision to grant observer status to the State of Israel. In a statement, the Botswana Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation said the issue is a sensitive issue that should have been brought to the attention of all AU member states, before such a decision was made. taken, “especially given the long-standing conflict between Israel and Palestine.” . ‘ In addition, the government of Botswana maintains that the continued occupation of Palestine by the State of Israel goes against the letter and spirit of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, as well. than its obligation to respect and implement the respective United Nations resolutions. ‘The statement read in part. “Botswana wishes to reiterate its unwavering support and solidarity with the Palestinian Authority against the Israeli occupation. Botswana wishes to reiterate its unwavering support and solidarity with the Palestinian Authority against the Israeli occupation.
(https://africa.cgtn.com/2021/08/01/botswana-dissociates-itself-to-aus-granting-israel-observer-status/)

The Republic of Namibia, which is also a member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) sub-regional with South Africa and Botswana, expressed its strong objection to the arbitrary maneuvers of the Chair of the Commission. In a statement from the Foreign Office, he expresses sentiments similar to those of South Africa and Botswana.

Namibia stressed: “Granting observer status to an occupying power is contrary to the principles and objectives of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, especially at a time when the State of Israel is increasing its acts of oppression in total violation of international law and contempt for the human rights of the Palestinian people…. In this regard, Namibia will formally submit its objection / reservation to the Chairperson of the AU Commission in due course. (https://africa.cgtn.com/2021/07/30/namibia-objects-to-israels-observer-status-at-african-union/)

Comparisons with Western Sahara and imperialist militarism

These apparent political changes are reminiscent of the Kingdom of Morocco’s readmission to the AU in 2017, even though the government of that North African state refused to implement United Nations and AU resolutions requiring elections to be held. on the future of Western Sahara. The AU has accepted the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as a member of the continental organization. There are many resolutions in favor of the independence of the SADR from the Kingdom of Morocco.

Morocco openly pressed for its readmission after voluntarily withdrawing from the AU’s predecessor, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), in 1984, when the majority of the regional body voted to recognize the RASD. When the AU allowed Morocco to rejoin the organization, there were strong objections from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Algeria and at least twelve other states.

In addition to conflicting policies related to Western Sahara and Palestine, the increased imperialist militarization of Africa by Western states has undermined the ability of organs within the AU to establish effective peacekeeping operations independent of the government. funding and logistical support from the Pentagon and allies. NATO countries. Dr Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972), President of the First Republic of Ghana and co-founder of modern African politics, denounced imperialist military interventions on the continent. On February 24, 1966, Nkrumah was overthrown by a clique of military and police officers guided and coordinated by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the State Department.

The US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has thousands of troops stationed across the continent while a base in Djibouti at Camp Lemonnier houses French and Pentagon troops. Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous state which is plagued by insecurity in the northern and central regions of the country, called for AFRICOM to relocate its headquarters from ‘Germany in Nigeria. Such defeatist attitudes and statements only provide the enemies of progress on the continent with a justification for further penetration.

In his “Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism” published in 1965, Nkrumah observes: “A world power, having decided on principles of global strategy that it is necessary to have a military base in such or such a country nominally. independent, must ensure that the country where the base is located is friendly. Here is another reason for balkanization. If the base can be located in a country with such an economic constitution that it cannot survive without substantial “help” from the military power that owns the base, then, it is argued, the security of the base can. be assured. Like so many other assumptions on which neo-colonialism is based, this one is wrong. The presence of foreign bases arouses popular hostility to neo-colonial arrangements which allow them faster and more surely than anything else, and all over Africa these bases are disappearing. Libya can be cited as an example of the failure of this policy. (https: // Politicalanthro.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/nkrumah.pdf)

Therefore, any “normalization” of relations with imperialist states and their allies such as the State of Israel is essentially the path to even deeper levels of neocolonial domination of the African continent. The Acting Prime Minister of the Republic of the Sudan, Abdalla Hamdok, along with the military and technocratic administration established diplomatic relations with Israel in total violation of the 1958 Boycott of Israel Law. The current regime in Khartoum no he still has not announced a date for the election of a legislative structure. for the country. This recognition from Tel Aviv made Sudan eligible for predatory loans issued by international financial institutions that have devastated post-independence Africa since the 1960s.

The need for political rectification within the AU

These contradictory policies on Africa-Israel relations nullify the progressive and pan-Africanist history of the continent. These states, political parties and mass organizations in solidarity with Palestine, Western Sahara and all oppressed and struggling peoples should take corrective measures aimed at reversing these unilateral decisions which can in no way benefit the masses of workers, farmers. and young Africans.

Such a program of rectification cannot be implemented without firmly addressing the continuing economic, political and military dependence of the African continent on imperialist states and their financial institutions. The current public health crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the urgent need for innovative approaches to solve regional problems. As Western states hastily vaccinate its populations against the pandemic, the number of vaccinations administered in Africa represents less than 2% of those eligible amid a third wave of epidemics where cases are escalating in various states such as the Senegal.

The solution lies in adopting an anti-imperialist and pan-Africanist approach to the situation. In order to develop and ensure its true independence and sovereignty, Africa must unite and move forward towards socialist construction.

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