GAZA, July 25 (Xinhua) -- The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) on Saturday slammed the decision to grant Israel an official observer status at the African Union (AU) as "shocking and disgraceful."
"The decision consolidates the legitimacy of this occupier on our land, and gives it more opportunities to continue its plans to keep confiscating the Palestinian people's rights," Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, said in a press statement sent to Xinhua.
Israel announced on Thursday that it joined the AU as an observer state after being kept out for two decades, according to Israeli media.
Israel previously held observer status at the predecessor Organization of African Unity until 2002, when the organization dissolved itself and became the African Union.
During a meeting with Israeli Ambassador to Ethiopia Aleli Admasu on Thursday, Chairperson of the AU Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat reiterated the pan-African bloc's position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying that "a two-state solution is necessary for a peaceful co-existence."
"The path towards long-lasting peace and stability requires that the peace process and the solutions sought must not only be acceptable, but must guarantee the rights of all parties," Mahamat said. Enditem