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Hamas resistance movement hails African Union's decision to suspend Israel's observer status

African heads of state pose for a group photo together with Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, during the opening of the 36th Ordinary session of the Assembly of the Africa Union at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on February 18, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has praised a decision by the African Union to suspend Israel's observer status at the 55-nation bloc after the regime delegation was expelled from the opening ceremony of the organization's summit in Ethiopia.

Hamas, in a statement released on Monday, highly appreciated the AU member states’ stances, especially those of Algeria and South Africa, calling for concerted efforts in order to push the occupying Tel Aviv regime away from the continent.

“We urge the international community and the United Nations to criminalize the Israeli crimes and recurrent violations against Palestinian people, their territories and sacred places. We call on them to support Palestinians’ freedom struggle until they enjoy their legitimate rights and establish a fully sovereign Palestinian state with al-Quds as its capital,” the statement also read.

The news about suspension of Israel’s observer status at the AU came after Israeli ambassador Sharon Bar-li was removed from the African Union’s annual summit in addis ababa on Saturday as she attempted to attend using a non-transferable invitation issued only to Israel’s ambassador to the African Union, Aleli Admasu. Israel was therefore not invited to the AU's weekend summit. 

Video circulating on social media showed guards escorting Bar-li out of the AU assembly hall in the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa.

Back in early February last year, the African Union suspended a debate on whether to grant Israel an observer status at the continental body, avoiding a vote that risked creating an unprecedented rift in the regional bloc.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh at the time urged African leaders to withdraw the accreditation, saying Israel should “never be rewarded for its violation and for the apartheid regime it does impose on Palestinian people.”

The AU’s chairman, Macky Sall, told reporters at the end of the two-day summit back then that there was an agreement to postpone the vote.

Israel was granted observer status in the African Union in July 2021. The accreditation drew a sharp rebuke from powerful members of the AU, including South Africa and Algeria, which argued that it contradicted AU statements supporting the occupied Palestinian territories.

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

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