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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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African Union Leaders Denounce Israel’s Gaza offensive

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Leaders of the African Union gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Saturday denounced and demanded an immediate cessation of Israel’s Gaza offensive.

The head of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, claimed that Israel had “exterminated” the people of Gaza and called Israel’s offensive a “most flagrant” breach of international humanitarian law. “Rest assured we strongly condemn these attacks that are unprecedented in the history of mankind,” Faki said to applause from delegates. “We want to reassure you of our solidarity with the people of Palestine.”

Alongside Faki at the summit was Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.
The outgoing chairperson of the African Union and president of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani, denounced “the genocide Israel is committing in Palestine under our nose” while applauding the case South Africa filed against Israel at the International Court of Justice.

“The international community cannot close its eyes to the atrocities that are committed, that have not only created chaos in Palestine but also have disastrous consequences in the rest of the world,” Assoumani said.

Since Hamas launched its attack on Israel on October 7, when militants killed about 1,200 people—mostly civilians—and kidnapped about 250 more, a quarter of Gaza’s population is starving.

Israel vehemently disputes any genocide in Gaza, claiming that it is solely targeting Hamas militants and that it takes all reasonable precautions to spare civilians. It claims that it is challenging to prevent civilian casualties due to Hamas’ strategy of integrating into civilian areas.

A dispute over Israel’s observer status at the continental body led to the unceremoniously removal of an Israeli delegate from the plenary hall during the AU summit last year. This year’s summit was opened with concern over conflicts and the resurgence of coups throughout the African continent.

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