When the Organization of African Unity otherwise known as Organisation de l'Unité Africaine (OAU) established on May 25, 1963 was dissolved by South African President Thabo Mbeki on 9th July 2002 in Durban, South Africa to birth the African Union (AU), it was not just the name that changed; a lot of adjustments were made to its structure and organization.
The creation of African Union (AU) was championed by former Libyan leader, Muammar al-Gaddafi with the aim of having a union that is able to adequately address the issues facing Africa.
The idea to create African Union (AU) was adopted in Sirte, Libya on September 9th, 1999 before its actualization in 2002. It was called the Sirte Declaration (named after Sirte, in Libya).
Among the many changes that took place during the transition, Israel lost its slot as an African Union observer - a position they are eager to regain.
The country did not mince words or hide her intentions of its desire to return as an AU observer when Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Ghana’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, visited Jerusalem on official invitation from Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Speaking on the matter, the Prime Minister said:
“Israel should once again be an observer state of the African Union … I fervently believe that it’s in your interest too, in the interest of Africa. And I hope all of you will support that goal.”
Netanyahu had made the same plea publicly in 2017 at the ECOWAS Heads of State Summit in Liberia where he appealed to absolve Israel back as an AU observer and for the African leaders to support his country against sanctions in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
“I ask for your support in rejecting anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, and in bodies such as the General Assembly, UNESCO and the Human Rights Council.
“Israel is a nation that loves and respects all … In Israel, Jews, Christians and Muslims live side by side as equal citizens. This is the real Israel”, he said.
In response, during the meeting between the Israeli Prime Minister and Ghana's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said Ghana will do all it can to help Israel's course and “pledged to work hard to ensure that Israel gets her voice heard on the African continent.”
What are you thoughts, do you think Israel should be given an Observer slot in the African Union and should Africa support the country in the United Nations General Assembly?
Header Image: Face2face Africa