Cosatu and the SACP have welcomed the decision by the African Union to throw out an Israeli diplomat at its summit in Ethiopia at the weekend, saying Israel continued to commit human rights violations against the Palestinian people.
This comes after International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said she was surprised to hear that South Africa had pushed for the ejection of Sharon Bar-Li from the summit.
She said South Africa had raised its objection for the granting of observer status by AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki in 2021.
She said this was a unilateral decision and South Africa objected to it.
Pandor said she was not involved in the removal of the Israeli diplomat.
“The notion that I stand up and remove any person in a whole is quite insulting and demeaning. I was very surprised, I believe the Israeli colleague is probably aware that we have objected to the commission chairperson’s unilateral decision to grant Israel observer status in our union.
“We objected to this because we believe the continued occupation of the land of Palestine people as well as the building of new settlements, the prohibition on movement, the fact that Palestinian people have to carry ID documents, travel in different roads from other persons living in the area, that they cannot build their own homes and be assured that their land will not be occupied.
“These are all infringements of the contents of the AU charter. On the grounds of Israel not reflecting the values, the principles and objectives of the AU charter we have expressed the view that they cannot be an observer in our organisation,” said Pandor.
Cosatu’s International Secretary Sonia Mabunda-Kaziboni said they had also objected to the decision of Faki to grant Israel observer status.
This matter has to be processed and finalised, she said.
She said the oppression of the Palestinians continued to take place.
Mabunda-Kaziboni added that on the other hand Israel was busy with its settlement programmes in Palestinian territory but expected the international community to be silent.
The international community must stand up for the rights of the Palestinian people, she said.
Mabunda-Kaziboni called on the AU to reverse the decision taken by Faki to grant Israel observer status.
The SACP also said it condemned the decision of Faki to unilaterally grant Israel an observer status. It said the South African government was correct to raise its objection on this when it happened in 2021.
It was against the Constitutive Act of the AU and its cornerstones.
The SACP said it supported a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine.