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

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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........

© Middle East Monitor

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