By Rasheed Abubakar
Thousands of Nigerian human rights activists and citizens converged at the National Stadium, Lagos to rally support for the oppressed Palestinians and call for a global boycott of, and sanctions against, the Zionist State of Israel on Tuesday, November 20.
They urged the international community to institute boycott and sanctions policies against Israel, in a bid to force it to respect UN resolutions on the two-state solution of the Palestinian crisis, as well as respect the rights of millions of Palestinian refugees who have been homeless for about seven decades to return to their homes in present-day Israel.
At an annual event tagged “Aqsa Day”, which commemorated the 100th year after the infamous Balfour Declaration, activists, academics and religious scholars also called on the UN and other global bodies to isolate Israel and its backers over their continued disrespect for resolutions of the UN towards resolving the crisis.
The event, organised by Muslim Awareness International (MAI), included lectures and a stage play that drew attention to the plight of the Palestinians, while suggesting solutions to the longstanding crisis.
In a lecture titled: “From Owners to Refugees: The Palestinians and the Struggle for Self-Determination in the Middle East”, Dr Dele Ashiru of the University of Lagos said the international community must prevail on the State of Israel to obey all United Nations resolutions concerning Palestine.
“Israeli belligerence represents both present and future danger for lasting peace in the Middle East and globally. It is imperative for the United States of America to reverse its declaration and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” Dr Ashiru, who is the ASUU Chairman of UNILAG, said.
He added that the Palestinian crisis transcends ethno-religious boundaries, insisting the conflict typifies the oppressive, imperialistic and unjust international political economy led and dictated by the United States of America and its allies.
“The struggle of the Palestinian people is a struggle for self-determination and justice. This struggle must be supported by all men of good conscience,” he said.
The second speaker, Dr AbdulLateef Adeyemo of the University of Benin, who spoke on the topic: “Are We the Architects of Our Own Misfortunes?” said the issue of Palestine is the responsibility of all Muslims on earth.
An Associate Professor of Islamic Studies, Dr Adeyemo said the world needs the Muslims to be united to create a just balance of power, as it was before the collapse of the Ottoman Caliphacy in Turkey.
“One of plans of the enemies of Islam and some world powers is to exacerbate the differences among the Muslims. When Muslims were united politically, culturally, economically and ideologically, Islamic civilization contributed to world progress and dictated the pace for over 800 years.
Hence, Muslims must say no to cultural differences and artificial geographic demarcations imposed by the imperialists,” Adeyemo said.
The Director of MAI, AbdulWaheed Atoyebi said millions of activists and intellectuals across the globe have keyed into the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, a strategy that has helped isolate Israel.
“The international community owes Palestine the duty to continue to support and promote the BDS movement, which is gaining ground around the world and putting a check on the aggression of the Zionist state.
“The struggle of the people of Palestine as well as those of other peoples around the world – the Rohingya in Myanmar, Uighur in China, Saharawi Democratic Republic in Morocco and other places where people are reeling under oppression – borders on human rights, the right to freedom from oppression, and self-determination as enshrined in various international laws, statutes and conventions.
“Hence, these are causes that should transcend racial or religious considerations and should be supported by all well-meaning people. In this vein, we commend all activists, important figures and personalities – academics, singers, entertainers and many others around the world who have expressed solidarity with the cause of the Palestinians.
“Many of them have had to cancel engagements, transactions and even businesses linking them and their professions with the occupationist Zionist regime, even at great personal loss, to express support for the suppressed people of Palestine.” Atoyebi said.
He also lauded the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari for championing the cause of the Palestinians via his constant reminder of a two-state UN solution to the crisis.