The AU’s solidarity with Palestine is no longer enough | African Union

On May 11, the Chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat (Moussa Faki Mahamat) issued a statement “strongly condemning” Israel’s deadly bombing of the Gaza Strip and stating that the African Union firmly supports the Palestinian people “legitimately” Seeking to establish an independent and sovereign country with sovereignty”. East Jerusalem is the capital”.

You might think this statement is familiar because it is – Mahamat’s words are almost identical to many bold and straightforward statements made by the African Union in response to Israel’s continued attacks on Gaza over the years.

For example, in May 2018, when Israel killed 266 people and injured tens of thousands of people during the “March” protests in Gaza, Mahmat quickly expressed his organization’s firm and lasting support for the Palestinian struggle. And called for “a fair and lasting resolution of the conflict”…within the framework of the relevant United Nations statement.”

In July 2014, Israel killed about 2,310 Palestinians in Gaza, wounded more than 10,000 people, and actually destroyed Gaza’s infrastructure and economy. The then Chairman of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma strongly condemned the “outbreak of hostilities” And attacked the residents of the Gaza Strip.” Dlamini Zuma also reiterated the AU’s “full support” for the Palestinians and supported “restoration of its legal right to establish an independent state in peaceful coexistence with the State of Israel.”

Today, the AU seems to be one of the most outspoken and persistent defenders on the international stage in terms of Israel’s diplomatic gestures and statements to suppress the Palestinians in an all-round way. The AU’s strong support for Palestine is hardly recent.

As an institution born from the anti-imperialist struggle on the African continent, the African Union has always been eager and willing to openly “stand up” for Palestine.

In 1975, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor of the OAU, passed the “Middle East and Arab Occupied Territories Resolution” in response to Israel’s “barbaric attacks and attacks on refugee camps and the bombing of towns and towns against civilian targets in villages in southern Lebanon.” All the principles of international law and humanitarian law”.

The OAU was struck by the indifference of Israel’s systematic violence against the Palestinian people and reaffirmed its “full and effective support for the legitimate struggle of the front-line countries and the Palestinian people to restore all occupied territories and deprive them of rights. All possible means” .

It condemned Israel’s shameful attempts to change the “demographic, geographic, economic and cultural characteristics” of the occupied Palestinian territory. It condemned the role of the United States in the conflict in the Middle East and said: “The flooding of Israel with such a large number of weapons is to establish it as an advanced case of racism and colonialism at the center of the Arab and African world and the Third World.”

In addition, the OAU has determined that solemn appeals cannot be used to resist or eliminate Israel’s systematic and persistent brutality against the Palestinian people, and worse, it cannot adopt an empty diplomatic posture. Therefore, it requires all African countries to “expand all possible potential” to the Palestinians in order to strengthen their struggle against Zionist aggression, and calls on the United Nations and other international organizations to impose sanctions on Israel.

All this may lead some people to conclude that the principled anti-colonial stance of the AU against Palestine has not been shaken for nearly half a century.

Sadly, this is not the case.

In 1975, the OAU not only condemned Israel’s crimes, but also formulated a substantive plan to resist Israel’s colonization of Palestinian land.

But today, the verbal condemnation of the AU’s occupation of Israel and the routine aggression against the Palestinians is no longer backed by specific policy plans or actions—in fact, they are just symbolic gestures. Moreover, the member states of the trade union seem not interested in maintaining the anti-colonial ideals promoted by the OAU in the 1970s.

For example, when Israeli security forces suppressed Palestinian demonstrators at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on May 10, the only African leader who took the time to publicly condemn Israel’s actions was South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The deliberate and disappointing silence elsewhere on the African continent clearly shows how most African countries have abandoned their commitment to support the Palestinians’ just anti-colonial struggle for freedom and justice.

Indeed, in recent years, most African countries have rewarded the efforts of Israel’s Western allies for establishing stronger diplomatic, economic and military ties with Israel, rather than expressing solidarity with the Palestinians.

Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea and Angola are actively working to “build stronger economic relations” with Israel. Uganda and Malawi are “investigating” the establishment of diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. Morocco and Sudan recently “celebrated” the normalization agreement they signed with Israel.

The pro-Israel stance displayed by these African countries, coupled with the complete silence of many other countries towards Palestine, clearly shows that the recent strong condemnation of Israel by the African Union is nothing but empty rhetoric.

Today, Israel is violating the most basic human rights of Palestinians every day, subjecting them to apartheid rule, and killing them with impunity, but the AU has nothing to ask for but a statement of condemnation. As far as the African Union claims to support Palestine’s struggle against colonial occupation, this is not enough. For an anti-imperialist imperialist organization that has participated in many liberation struggles, it is not enough to merely pay lip service to the struggle in Palestine.

US President Biden or British Prime Minister Boris Johnson may have difficulty clearly defining or condemning Israel’s policies of systemic racism, illegal occupation and murder, but no African leader can pretend that they don’t understand what the Palestinians are currently experiencing. They do understand, because their country was in the same situation not long ago. So why don’t they say it? And, most importantly, why does the organization representing them do nothing when they issue written expressions and emotionally insignificant media statements on the issue?

When will African countries stop recognizing their common anti-colonial struggle with Palestine and begin to turn a blind eye to Israeli crimes and even actively support them in the United Nations?

The AU still does not hesitate to publicly condemn Israel’s continuing crimes against humanity, so why not propose a resistance plan aimed at helping the Palestinians seek justice and freedom? Why does its member states not promise to take practical measures to help force Israel to respect only international law and the human rights, land and economic rights of the Palestinians?

The “advanced cases of racism and colonialism” that the OAU called out in 1975 is obviously still unresolved and deadly as always. So why don’t African countries implement the same policies that put pressure on apartheid South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s? Apart from symbolic gestures and condemnation, where is Israel’s academic, cultural and sports boycotts? Why don’t African countries impose economic sanctions on Israel?

For a long time, the cowardice and indecision of the AU normalized Israel’s brutal repression of the Palestinians. It is time for the African Union to restore its anti-colonial roots and take substantial measures against Israel.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

Source link