Israeli delegation removed from African summit

Lazy eyes listen


An Israeli diplomat and her delegation were barred from attending the African Union’s annual summit in Ethiopia. Security guards escorted the Israelis out, according to video footage.

Sharon Bar-li, deputy director of the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s Africa division, and her team were removed from the premises in Addis Abeba on Saturday. The Israeli Foreign Ministry condemned the expulsion, claiming that Israel is an accredited observer at the African Union’s annual meeting and that Bar-li had all of the necessary paperwork.

“Israel strongly condemns 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 entrance badges,” said Lior Hayat, a spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Hayat blamed the decision to expel Bar-li on “a small number of extremist countries such as Algeria and South Africa,” claiming that these countries are “driven by hatred and controlled by Iran.”

Although some members of the 55-country bloc, including South Africa and Algeria, were outraged by the decision, Israel was granted observer status at the African Union in 2021. The union responded by forming a committee to reconsider Israel’s status, which is expected to make recommendations at this year’s summit.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s spokesperson denied any responsibility, while African Union spokesperson Ebba Kalondo told Reuters that the union was expecting Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union, Aleli Admasu, rather than Bar-li.

South Africa, on the other hand, supported the decision to expel the diplomat. “It’s not about South Africa or Algeria; it’s a principle issue,” Ramaphosa’s spokesperson told Reuters. “You cannot have the country sitting and observing until the AU decides whether to grant Israel observer status.”