Israel is set to lobby African countries for support to re-establish its observer status at the African Union (AU) which it last held in 2000 before it was revoked.
The status was revoked in 2000 under the leadership of former Libya president the late Muammar Gaddafi and it has not been renewed despite various attempts.
Yoram Elron, head of the African Division in Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told visiting African journalists this week that even without the support of the AU, his country has succeeded in establishing bilateral ties with 10 African States.
However, he regretted that the AU is instead showing sympathy to Palestine which was granted observer status in 2013 and its leader Muhammad Abbas uses the platform to further castigate Israel.
Elron said Israel has been trying for seven years to re-establish its observer status at the AU without success.
It has been the stance of the AU that the Israeli mandate over Palestine violates international law, but Elron said not all African leaders feel that way.
“It is inconceivable that Palestine has observer status, but we do not. African leaders have said we have a right to be there, but we are looking for more support from all of Africa,” he said.
Elron added that if Israel had observer status at the AU, the potential for evolving cooperation was vast and the future was bright.
He said: “Israel has a lot to share with Africa, innovation, technology advancements, and this can be further cemented with relations with AU, but unfortunately the relationship is not at par with the relations we have with individual members of the union.”
As Israel’s battle for control of the land continues, it has lost the support and sympathy of most African countries.
Elron explained that Israel’s interest in Africa started in the 1960s at the height of which there were 47 embassies on the continent.
Head of the press bureau and spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Emmanuel Nahshon, confirmed that Israel’s unpopularity with the world and its “stubbornness” to maintain peace in the Middle East has lost the country membership with organs such as AU.
“We would like to see peaceful and neighbourly relations with Palestine,” he said.
However, Israel’s insistence that a demilitarised Palestine is the way to go has not gone down well with the predominantly Muslim country.
Tensions have reached a high in Jerusalem and on Tuesday a Palestinian man rammed his car into people standing at a bus station injuring several before he got out of the car and attempted to stab a bystander. n