Date: Sunday, 10 July 2022
Israeli prime minister Yair Lapid has approved the closure of the regime’s embassy in Eritrea as authorities in the Northeast African country have not been allowing the arrival of a diplomat from the occupied territories in the past two years.
Lapid, who is still serving as Israeli foreign minister, took the decision on Saturday to shutter the diplomatic mission in the Eritrean capital city of Asmara, after the local government had been delaying Ishmael Khaldi to take up the post despite his appointment.
According to Israeli media outlets, the embassy has remained empty in the aftermath of the Eritrean government's decision, and many of its staffers are currently in their homes without doing any particular tasks.
The outlets added that the Tel Aviv regime spends tens of thousands of dollars per month on rent and other fees for the employees.
The last Israeli ambassador left Asmara in September 2018. Since then, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has sent a temporary administrator for the embassy from time to time.
The Israeli foreign ministry then decided to evacuate the embassy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The embassy has been abandoned ever since.
On July 5, 2020, the regime's foreign ministry’s appointments committee appointed Ishmael Khaldi to serve as ambassador to Eritrea. The approval of his appointment was, however, delayed by Eritrean authorities.
Palestine's official Wafa news agency, quoting the London-based online newspaper Rai al-Youm and other sources reported on August 1, 2021, that at least 14 countries including South Africa, Tunisia, Eritrea, Senegal, Tanzania, Niger, the archipelago of Qamar, Gabon, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Liberia, and the Seychelles had agreed to expel Israel from the 55-member African Union.
On July 22 that year, Israel attained observer status at the AU after nearly 20 years of lobbying.
Making the move official, Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia, Burundi and Chad Aleli Admasu presented his credentials to Moussa Faki Mahamat, the chairman of the African Union Commission, at the bloc’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
Experts say Israel’s observer status is largely seen as part of Tel Aviv's continued campaign to normalize ties in Africa.
Pro-Palestine language is typically featured in statements delivered at the AU’s annual summits. Palestine already has observer status at the African Union.