The grandson of South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and philanthropist Nelson Mandela has joined a growing chorus of opposition to a recent decision by the African Union Commission to grant “apartheid Israel” observer status at the continental body, slamming the movie as "fatally flawed".
“We cannot normalize relations with apartheid Israel while it continuously rides roughshod over the human rights of the Palestinians, incarcerates, tortures and maims innocent civilians, acts with impunity and violates international law as if it is a law unto itself,” Zwelivelile Mandela, who is a parliament member for the ruling African National Congress, said in a statement.
He said the decision was “fatally flawed” as AU Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat “acted unilaterally and without consulting member states or executive members of the African Union.”
Mandela urged the South African government to cut all diplomatic ties with the Tel Aviv regime and expel its ambassador, stressing that “apartheid Israel” has repeatedly refused to be part of a “genuine peace process.”
“We call on Africans all over the continent and in the diaspora to come out in protest … We must disassociate from the unilateral decision to grant apartheid Israel's regime observer status,” he said.
Mandela condemned some South African nationals for serving in the Israeli military, saying the government must try them for “war crimes and violating the country’s Foreign Military Assistance Act.”
“They are guilty of committing gross human rights violations against Palestinian civilians at checkpoints every day,” Mandela said.
Earlier this month, a group of international lawyers, researchers and activists filed a complaint with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights, denouncing the recent decision of the African Union to grant Israel an observer status at the regional bloc, and seeking its revocation.
“This complaint is brought against the decision of the African Union taken at the end of July 2021 granting observer status to Israel,” read a 200-page document petitioning the AU’s decision.
“The human rights violations committed by Israel are contrary to the spirit and purport of the Charter of the African Union, particularly relating to issues of self-determination and decolonization as Israel continues to illegally occupy Palestine in violation of its international obligations and multiple UN resolutions,” the document noted.
Last month, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra chastised the chairman of the African Union Commission for defending his decision, saying his insistence on the measure will eventually result in the breakup of the regional organization.
On July 22, Israel attained observer status at the AU after nearly 20 years of lobbying.
Israel had previously held observer status in the predecessor Organization of African Unity until 2002, when the organization was disbanded and replaced by the AU.
Pro-Palestine language is typically featured in statements delivered at the AU’s annual summits. Palestine already has observer status at the African Union.