Israel must not have a place at the African Union until it ends its occupation of Palestine

Then-Chairman of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Yasser Arafat addresses in July 1972 in Kampala delegates of the Organisation of African Unity (OUA) [AFP via Getty Images]
Then-Chairman of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Yasser Arafat addresses in July 1972 in Kampala delegates of the Organisation of African Unity (OUA)

By Hanan Jarrar

Africa is a symbol of the future and Africa stands with us,” declared Yasser Arafat, then chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) at a meeting of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in July 1975 in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

Twenty-seven years later, as the OAU stood on the threshold of being reborn as the African Union in 2002, the Palestinian struggle icon was besieged by Israeli troops at his headquarters in Ramallah. Arafat sent his envoy, Farouq Kaddoumi, to attend the final OAU meeting in Durban, South Africa. Through Kaddoumi, Arafat appealed to African leaders for the AU to continue supporting and advocating for Palestinian freedom.

The AU did not fail the Palestinian people; it has been one of Palestine’s most important and loyal allies in the past 19 years.

Israel’s colonisation, illegal occupation of Palestine, and oppression of the Palestinian people have featured prominently at AU summits. The AU, and the OAU before it, has consistently condemned Israel’s use of lethal, unlawful force against Palestinian civilians, its violations of international law, and annexation of Palestinian land.

At its last summit in February this year, the AU specifically called on its members to respect the international legal status of East Jerusalem as occupied and as the capital of the future Palestinian state and reiterated the illegality of all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the Syrian Golan Heights.

READ: African Union slams Israel violence against Palestinians

Supported by AU members and its leaders, African nations have regarded the Palestinian struggle as an African issue. This is a reflection of the bonds between Africa’s liberation and anti-colonial struggles and those of the Palestinian people.

It is within this context, then, that the decision by AU Commission chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, to unilaterally accept the credentials of Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Aleli Admasu, is all the more bewildering. The move undermines the anti-colonial values that underpin the AU.

Mahamat said Israel’s diplomatic relations with AU member states justified his decision to grant Israel AU observer status. But this decision is not about whether Israeli diplomatic missions exist in African countries.

This is about the type of political and diplomatic recognition — and normalisation of colonialism — that comes with attaining observer status in an institution that serves as an anti-colonial beacon.

Gaining observer status brings Israel into a formal relationship with the AU. That is a privilege that Israel — a violent occupying power whose actions violate the spirit, objectives, and principles of the AU — simply does not deserve at this moment.

Now the AU risks following the example of much of the international community’s inaction.

The Israeli occupation of Palestine has entered its 54th year, while the ongoing violent displacement of Palestinians to make way for the creation of Israel (known as the Nakba) is in its 73rd year. That is 73 years of Israeli colonial policies that manifest through crippling sieges, land theft, and systemic violence in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Israel has been able to sustain this illegal situation only because of the world’s inaction.

It is unthinkable that some AU member states, which themselves have emerged from painful histories of colonialism and occupation, openly support the presence of a modern-day colonial power such as Israel at the AU.

As long as the international community — now, shockingly, including the AU — continues to welcome Israel with privileges and distinctions, it effectively gives our Israeli colonisers permission to continue the occupation. Words without actions are meaningless.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has collectively objected to Mahamat’s decision to grant Israel observer status. SADC’s position is in line with the positions of Mauritania, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Comoros, and Djibouti that have also lodged formal objections with the AU. These countries serve as a lodestar for other African nations in how to develop meaningful solidarity with Palestine by moving beyond words and recalibrating their relations with Israel.

OPINION: Has the AU declared war on member states with Israel’s ‘observer status’?

It is also inspiring to see the outpouring of support from dozens of political and civil society groups, trade unions, student networks and religious formations throughout Africa. Coming together as the Pan-African Palestine Solidarity Network, they have collectively rejected Mahamat’s decision. These groups are showing their governments what genuine solidarity looks like, and remind Palestinians that the African people still stand with us in our struggle for liberation.South Africa stands with Palestine - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

South Africa stands with Palestine – Cartoon

When the issue of Israel’s observer status comes before the AU executive council in October, member states must act together to send Israel a clear message that it cannot occupy a people for 54 years, perpetuate apartheid practices, and then be given the privilege of joining the African family for a few hollow words about peace, aid, and investment.

In 1975, the OAU declared that “… the racist [Israeli] regime in occupied Palestine and the racist regime in Zimbabwe and South Africa have a common imperialist origin, forming a whole and having the same racist structure and being organically linked in their policy aimed at the repression of the dignity and integrity of the human being”.

In the 46 years since that declaration, the regimes in then-Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa were dismantled through internal resistance that was supported by an intensive international boycott, divestment, and sanctions campaign. Neither regime was welcomed at the OAU until it ended its apartheid and colonial practices. So how, then, can the apartheid regime occupying Palestine be rewarded with observer status at the AU while it continues its lawlessness and violations?

Until it ends its occupation, colonisation, and apartheid against the Palestinian people, Israel must not have a place at the AU.

(Source / 26.09.2021)

Israeli forces kill four Palestinians in West Bank

Israeli soldiers intervene in Palestinians protesting in Hebron, West Bank on September 17, 2021 [Mamoun Wazwaz/Anadolu Agency]
Israeli soldiers intervene in Palestinians protesting in Hebron, West Bank on September 17, 2021

Israeli forces killed at least four Palestinians during a raid in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said, reports Reuters.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, in a statement, said Israeli forces had mounted an operation against “Hamas terrorists who were about to carry out imminent terrorist attacks”.

He made no mention of casualties and an Israeli military spokesperson had no immediate comment on the raids.

Israeli officials have long voiced concern that Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, intends to gain strength in the West Bank and challenge its rival, the Western-backed Palestinian Authority (PA).

READ: Israel forces kill Palestinian man in West Bank

The PA Health Ministry said three Palestinians were killed in the West Bank village of Biddu, northwest of Jerusalem. It said another Palestinian was killed in Burqin, a village near the Palestinian city of Jenin.

Reports on Israel’s main radio stations and news websites said that at least four militants were killed in raids on several locations in the West Bank aimed at capturing Hamas members.

(Source / 26.09.2021)

PLO: Israel eyes synagogues to consolidate West Bank settlements

Synagogue [KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images]

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) warned Saturday of Israeli plans to consolidate its settlements in the occupied West Bank by building synagogues.

“In its continuous endeavor to consolidate settlements and strengthen its presence in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, the occupation government and settlement councils intend to establish synagogues for Jews in many settlements and outposts,” the PLO’s National Center for the Defense of Land said in a report.

The report warned that the construction of synagogues “will be part of the (Israeli) government’s priorities plan.”

It also said that Israeli authorities plan to allocate $6.25 million to 30 settlements and outposts on the ground of a shortage in the number of synagogues.

OPINION: The PA has a plan, it will ‘pause’ while Israel colonises more Palestinian land

The PLO described the move as dangerous and will give “sanctity and a false religious dimension” to the policy of settlement building.

The PLO fears that the move will promote and strengthen settlements and restrict the Palestinian presence in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli and Palestinian estimates indicate that there are about 650,000 settlers in West Bank settlements, including occupied Jerusalem, living in 164 settlements and 116 outposts.

Under international law, all Jewish settlements in occupied territories are considered illegal.

(Source / 26.09.2021)

Haneyya: Our people cannot accept any Israeli presence on their land

Head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haneyya has said that the “heroic” confrontations in Beita town and the martyrdom of Mohamed Khabisa proved the fact that “the Palestinian people can never accept any legitimacy conferred upon the Israeli occupation and its settlements on their land, no matter how big their sacrifices will be.”

Addressing mourners and the family of Khabisa in Beita town over the phone on Saturday, Haneyya offered his sincere condolences to the martyr’s father and family, and paid tribute to the Palestinian people in the occupied West Bank, particularly in Beita town.

The Hamas leader also said that the popular uprising in Beita asserted the facts that the Palestinian people are united in their resistance of the occupation and that the resistance option is the only strategic means for the liberation of the land.

Read More: Hamas: US complicit in Israeli war crimes against our people

He affirmed that the resistance in Gaza, which he described as “the people’s shield and sword,” is proud of such popular unity in the arena of confrontation with the occupation, and works on “building up its strength in order to achieve the liberation project.”

He also said that the great sacrifices the Palestinian people make in Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank confirm that “there is no future for the occupation on the Palestinian land and that the Palestinian people are able to uproot the occupation through upholding their unity and resistance.”

Read More: EU did not contribute any money for the poor Palestinian families since the start of year, says official

Mohamed Khabisa was shot dead by Israeli gunfire during renewed skirmishes last Friday with soldiers near Mount Sobeih in Beita town, southeast of Nablus.

For several months, local youths from Beita town and other areas of Nablus started to organize protests against the Israeli occupation and its settlers, who set up an outpost on Mount Sobeih that overlook Beita and other Palestinian areas.

Last July, the Israeli occupation army agreed with settlers living illegally on the mount to vacate their outpost settlement after promising them to keep their structures and mobile homes in the area and turn the mount into a military post.

At the time, a spokesperson for those settlers declared that they plan to establish a religious institute in the near future on the mount, which will remain a military-controlled area.

(Source / 26.09.2021)

Israeli forces kidnap Palestinian after assaulting him and others in Hebron

Days of Palestine – Hebron – On Saturday evening, the Israeli occupation forces kidnaped a Palestinian young man after assaulting him and others in the Jabel Jales area in the east of Hebron City.

According to local sources, the Israeli occupation forces stormed the Jabel Jales area and severely beat a young man called Faraj al-Tamimi before kidnaping him.

Read More: Israeli forces shoot killed Palestinian, injured 15 others during Gaza blockade protest

The Israeli occupation forces also physically attacked others in the same area as a horde of Jewish settlers were hurling stones at homes belonging to the family of al-Tamimi.

Three citizens from the family of al-Tamimi, including an older man, suffered bruises in the Israeli occupation forces attack.

Read More: Palestinian injured, two others kidnaped by Israeli forces in Jenin

The residents in Jabel Jales are exposed to repeated attacks by the Israeli occupation forces and settlers from the illegal outpost of Havat Gal.

In a separate incident, the Israeli occupation forces went on the rampage through Hammamat al-Maleh hamlet in the northern Jordan Valley.

Local official Aref Daraghmeh said that Israeli soldiers stormed and ransacked all the tents in Hammamet al-Maleh and wreaked havoc on the residents’ belongings.

The Israeli occupation forces have been storming the same area almost every day since it notified the residents of its intent to demolish the school in their place two weeks ago.

(Source / 26.09.2021)

Israeli Soldiers Abduct Eight Palestinians In West Bank

Israeli soldiers abducted, on Saturday, eight Palestinians from their homes in several parts of the occupied West Bank. The soldiers also detained and assaulted three young men in occupied Jerusalem, before releasing them.

Several army jeeps invaded the al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of the central West Bank city of Ramallah, and abducted a young man, identified as Mohammad ash-Shanni, before moving him to an unknown destination.

The soldiers also invaded Kobar town, north of Ramallah, before invading and searching homes, and abducted Mohammad Omar Barghouthi, 20, leading to protests.

Several young men hurled stones and Molotov coktails at the invading armored israeli military veehiles.

In Birzeit town, north of Ramallah,the soldiers abducted Mohammad Omar Barghouthi from his home.

Furthermore, the soldiers invaded al-Mazra’a al-Gharbiyya village, northwest of Ramallah, searched homes, and abducted two young men, identified as Mousa Mustafa Shreiteh, 29, and Yahia Hasan Ladadwa.

The invasions led to protests in several villages and towns; the soldiers fired live rounds, rubber-coated steel bullets, and gas bombs.

In addition, the soldiers invaded Nablus, in northern West Bank, and abducted a young man, identified as Yazan Ahmad Snobar, 22, after shooting him in the arm, in an area close to the Za’atra military roadblock.

The soldiers also invaded Deir al-Hatab village, east of Nablus, leading to protests.

In Hebron, in southern West Bank, the soldiers abducted a young man, identified as Marwan Mofeed Sharabati, from the center of the city, and assaulted several Palestinians, causing injuries.

In occupied Jerusalem, the soldiers detained three young men in Bab al-‘Amoud area and took them to a monitoring room in the area where they assaulted and searched them, before releasing them, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center in Silwan (Silwanic) said.

(Source / 26.09.2021)

Soldiers Assault Several Palestinians, Abduct One, In Hebron

Israeli soldiers assaulted, on Saturday evening, several Palestinians and abducted one, in Hebron city, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank, after illegal Israeli colonialist settlers hurled stones at their homes.

Local sources in Hebron said a group of illegal colonizers, from Havat Gal outpost, hurled homes at Palestinian homes in the Jabal Jales area.

They added that the Palestinians, from the local Tamimi family, tried to fend the attack off before the soldiers invaded the area and assaulted an elderly man, identified as Rashed Hamed Tamimi, 63, in addition to Hamed, Faraj, and Shaker Tamimi.

The soldiers also assaulted Faraj Tamim, before abducting him, and took him to a nearby military base.

It is worth mentioning that the Palestinians in the Jabal Jales area are subject to frequent assaults and violations by the colonizers in the illegal Havat Gal outpost, in an attempt to force them out of their lands to expand the outpost and turn it into a colony.

(Source / 26.09.2021)

Israeli Soldiers Kill Five Palestinians In West Bank

Israeli soldier killed, on Sunday at dawn, five Palestinians, injured and abducted many others, during massive invasions into various communities in the occupied West Bank, resulting in exchanges of fire with Palestinian fighters.

Israeli media sources said undercover Israeli soldiers of the Duvdevan special forces carried out extensive operations to ‘arrest members of Hamas movement’ across the West Bank, leading to exchanges of fire, resulting in the death of at least five Palestinians.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) that the soldiers shot Osama Sobeh, 22, with live fire causing serious injuries before he was rushed to Ibn Sina hospital in Burqin town, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, where he succumbed to his wounds.

Local sources said Sobeh was killed when the soldiers invaded the home of a former political prisoner, identified as Mohammad Zar’ini, near the al-Yamoun town.

The soldiers also invaded Burqin town, southwest of Jenin, and surrounded a house, while more soldiers were deployed in the area before sporadic exchanges of fire took place for several hours.

In addition, Palestinian medical sources the soldiers shot a young man in the leg when the army invaded Kafr Dan village, northwest of Jenin; the soldiers also abducted at least one Palestinian before moving him to an unknown destination.

In Jenin city, undercover soldiers kidnapped Ahmad Abu Rmeila and Mohammad Mazen Sa’adi, after ambushing them in a gas station in Jenin city.

Exchanges of fire between the soldiers and Palestinian resistance fighters were also reported in several areas in the Jenin governorate. At least eight Palestinains, and two Israeli soldiers were injured.

In addition, the soldiers killed three Palestinians and injured several others during an exchange of fire in the Ein Ajeeb area, east of Beit Anan town, and in Biddu town, northwest of occupied Jerusalem.

Ahmad Zahran

One of the slain Palestinians has been identified as Ahmad Zahran, a member of the al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas.

It is worth mentioning that Ahmad is the brother of Zahran Zahran, who was killed y the Israeli army in the year 1998.

Local sources said the army used at least ten drones during its invasions into villages, northwest of occupied Jerusalem, especially in the Ein Ajeeb area.

The army also invaded Beit Fajjar town, south of Bethlehem, and abducted Mohammad Moayyad Thawabta, 20, Qussai Jamal Deeriyya, 22, and Mohammad Ibrahim Deeriyya, 18, from their homes.

In Hebron, in southern West Bank, the soldiers invaded and ransacked many homes, and abducted two Palestinians, identified as Amer Tawfiq Abu Hlayyil and Hazem Nader Abu Hlayyil, in Doura town, south of the city.

The soldiers also invaded the as-Sammoa’ town, south of Hebron, and installed roadblocks on the main roads of the nearby Thaheriyya town in addition to the Zeev area.

The Israeli army said its soldiers, especially the Duvdevan special forces, in cooperation with the police and border police units, and the Shin Bet security agency, carried out the massive operations in the West Bank to target what it called Hamas members.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Popular Resistance Committees, Hamas movement and various Palestinian factions denounced the Israeli escalation and vowed retaliation to avenge the death of the Palestinians.

(Source / 26.09.2021)

Soldiers Abduct Two Palestinians In Hebron

Israeli soldiers kidnapped, Sunday, two Palestinians from Hebron, in the southern part of the occupied West Bank.

Media sources said several army jeeps invaded Doura town, south of Hebron before the soldiers invaded and ransacked many homes.

They added that the soldiers abducted Amer Tawfiq Abu Hlayyil and Hazem Nader Hlayyil.

The soldiers also installed roadblocks on main roads in the as-Sammoa and the ath-Thaheriyya towns, in addition to the Zeev area, south of Hebron, before stopping and searching dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians while inspecting their ID cards.

In related news, the soldiers invaded the Hammamat al-Maleh area in the West Bank’s Northern Plains, before invading and destroying tents and sheds of the local shepherds.

The army frequently invades the area, and just two weeks ago, the soldiers informed the residents of their intention to demolish the local school.

(Source / 26.09.2021)

After serving two years in jails, Israel releases Palestinian prisoner Khalida Jarrar

Occupied Palestine (QNN)- Israeli occupation authorities on Sunday have released the Palestinian political prisoner Khalida Jarrar from its jails after serving two years.

Khalida Jarrar, who is a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was detained in March 2021 and was sentenced to two years in Israeli jails.

Khalida Jarrar has been imprisoned several times since 2015 by the Israeli occupation and spent numerous terms under administrative detention.

Jarrar was first arrested in 1989 and held for a month without trial.

For her second detention in 2014, she was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

She was arrested for a third time in 2017.

She was released from Israeli jails in February 2019 after spending 20 months in prison, but the Israeli occupation detained her again in October 2019 from her home in Ramallah city, and she was accused of taking a position in the PFLP.

Jarrar was elected as a member of the Legislative Council in the last Parliamentary elections held in 2006.

Last July, the occupation authorities refused to release Jarrar to be able to attend the funeral of her daughter, Suha. She was denied the right to bury her daughter whose body was found near Palestine medical complex in Ramallah as she died of a sudden heart attack.

“It was very hard and painful to know that my darling Suha passed away, I have missed her too much. Please tell all my beloved ones to take care, I am strong,” Jarrar told her lawyer after being informed about her daughter’s death.

Jarrar is not the only mother or female held in Israeli jails, as there are now 10 mothers out of 39 female prisoners held in the Jails. They are not only suffering the hardships of the prisons but are also suffering from their inability to be with their children or families.

(Source / 26.09.2021)