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Hamas hails Algeria, Nigeria, South Africa for opposition to granting Israel observer status in AU

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A general view of the headquarters of the African Union (AU) building in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa. (Photo via Twitter)

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has praised Algeria and two non-Arab countries of the African Union (AU), Nigeria and South Africa, for appealing against a decision by the continental body to grant observer status to the “colonial” regime in Tel Aviv.

“We strongly condemn the support from any country, especially an Arab one, to grant observer status in the AU to the Israeli enemy,” said Moussa Mohammed Abu Marzook, a member of Hamas’s political bureau, in a tweet on Sunday.

He wrote, “We salute our Algerian brothers for their position, as well as Nigeria and South Africa,” calling on all African countries to “oppose granting this status to a colonial substitution entity.”

On July 22, Israel submitted a letter of credence to rejoin the AU as an observer, after nearly 20 years of lobbying, drawing angry reactions from supporters of the Palestinian cause against the regime’s occupation. Israel had previously held the status in the predecessor Organization of African Unity until 2002, when the organization was disbanded and replaced by the AU.

However, Algerian Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra said on Friday that the AU Executive Council had chosen to delay a final decision on granting Israel observer status in the pan-African body until the AU summit in February 2022.

On Sunday, Hamas welcomed a decision to postpone the approval of Israel’s observer status in the African Union.

“The decision by the AU Executive Council to postpone taking a final decision to grant the occupying regime observer status is a step in the right direction,” Basem Naim, head of the Hamas International Relations Office, said in a statement.

“Hamas hopes that the African Union will resolve the issue at its next summit by rejecting the Zionist regime’s accession to the body, especially as Africa has a long history of fighting colonialism and racism in addition to supporting Palestinians in their struggle for independence and liberation,” Naim said.

The senior Hamas official also called on the Palestinian Authority to intensify its diplomatic efforts to prevent the Israeli regime from joining the AU, and to utilize the African countries’ solidarity with the Palestinian nation to that effect.

Experts say Israel’s new observer status is largely seen as part of the Tel Aviv regime’s continued campaign to normalize ties in Africa.

Several African countries, including Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, and Algeria, had already opposed Israel’s accreditation.

They say AU member states were not consulted and the decision is in opposition to the body’s support for the Palestinian cause.

Pro-Palestine language is typically featured in statements delivered at the AU’s annual summits. Palestine already has observer status at the African Union.

Last 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.

“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 read.

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