African Union summit expels Israeli delegation

Israel is blaming South Africa and Algeria for the incident, Reuters reports.

By World Israel News Staff

The Israeli delegation at the African Union’s annual summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was expelled Saturday, Reuters and Walla reported.

Sharon Bar-li, deputy director for Africa at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, headed the delegation, which was participating as an observer.

“Israel takes the incident in which the Deputy Director for Africa Ambassador Sharon Bar-li was removed from the African Union Hall despite her status as an accredited observer with access badges very seriously,” said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lior Hair, according to Walla.

“It is sad to see that the African Union has been taken hostage by a small number of extremist countries such as Algeria and South Africa, driven by hatred and controlled by Iran. We call on African countries to stand against these actions that harm the organization of the African Union itself and the entire continent.”

Ebba Kalondo, the spokesperson for the African Union’s commission chairman, said Bar-li was removed because she was not the duly accredited Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia, Reuters reported.

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Israel disagreed, saying it was done at the request of South Africa and Algeria, two countries that are hostile to the Jewish state.

“We call on the countries of Africa to stand up against these actions that harm the organization of the African Union itself and the entire continent,” the Israeli foreign ministry stated.

“Until the AU takes a decision on whether to grant Israel observer status, you cannot have the country sitting and observing,” Clayson Monyela, head of public diplomacy in South Africa’s department of international relations, told Reuters.

“So, it’s not about South Africa or Algeria, it’s an issue of principle,” he added.

The Algerian delegation was not immediately available for comment to Reuters.