AU summit calls for international solidarity to Palestine

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African leaders on Saturday urged for an “immediate end” to the Palestine-Israel conflict, calling for international solidarity with Palestine during the 37th African Union (AU) summit.

The current situation in Gaza is “an evident illustration of the imperative for reform” within the international system “marked by considerable injustice and varying standards,” said Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ghazouani, AU chairperson for 2024 and Mauritanian president, at the opening session of the 37th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of the Heads of State and Government.

“It is paramount to recognize the Palestinians’ inherent right to establish their independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in alignment with pertinent resolutions of international legitimacy,” Ghazouani told African leaders.

He expressed concern over the international community’s “hesitancy to exert the necessary influence for an immediate ceasefire, aid delivery, and the establishment of a comprehensive and enduring solution.”

Ghazouani commended the AU for its “steadfast positions” on the matter, which “denounce injustice and champion just causes adhering to international law and humanitarian principles.”

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU Commission, also underscored the urgent need to address the Palestinian issue.

“Hegemony and the absurd desire to resolve our differences by brutal and vain force prevail publicly before the eyes of all,” Faki said, adding that international law, international humanitarian law, human rights, and morality have been “blithely ignored, trampled underfoot, and flouted.”

Noting the crucial need to enforce justice, Faki praised the “ethical reaction” of South Africa.

On Dec. 29, 2023, South Africa filed an application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for proceedings against Israel. The following month, the ICJ ordered Israel to take all possible measures to prevent genocide acts in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye, addressing the summit, also commended the AU for its continued call for “an end to the killing and the aggression that is perpetrated by Israel against the Palestinian people.”

Ishtaye underscored the two-state solution as the only option to solve the Israel-Palestine issue peacefully. “The world needs to recognize the State of Palestine on the basis of the borders of 1967,” he said.

The summit is held under the AU’s theme for 2024, “Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa,” at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.