• Say Israel, with US supports, violates all UN resolutions unchecked
• Urge Nigeria Senate to pass bill scaling down diplomatic relations with Israel
• Hamas, not terrorists but freedom fighters : Grand Mufti
Nigerians have challenged the international community to retrieve the monopoly of the United States of America (USA) in midwifing the peace process between Israel and Palestine, noting that the Washington is part of the problem, having shown enough bias as part of the Israeli occupation.
This was part of the long list of demands made by the Ulamaa Forum of Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO), at a press conference held on Tuesday, in Lagos, Southwest, Nigeria.
CIO, an umbrella body of various Islamic organisations in Nigeria, noted that Israel has violated the rules and resolutions of the international community in making peace, while also berating the powerlessness of the United Nations.
Speaking at the press conference, the General Secretary of CIO, Engr. Lukman Balogun, said, “The United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, adopted unanimously in November 1967, calls for the withdrawal of Israel from territories occupied during the six-day war, including the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. This resolution affirms the principle of “land for peace” as a means to establish lasting peace and stability in the region,” the group said.
“Additionally, the fourth Geneva Convention, ratified by most countries, including Israel, prohibits the occupying power from transferring its population into the territories it occupies. This serves as an important safeguard against the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which undermines the prospects for a viable Palestinian state.
“But, Israel with the unwavering support of the US, has violated these and other resolutions of the United Nations without facing any real consequences. The continuous building of settlements deemed illegal under international laws is a case in point. Another is the failure to meet its obligation as an occupying force charged with ensuring the protection and safety of those under its rule of which Israel has obeyed much in breach than in compliance. Just in August 2023, the Norwegian Refugee Council reported the disappearance of 500 Palestinian individuals from seven communities in few months as illegal settlement expansion and settler violence went unchecked.
“The Gaza Strip, which has always been the epicenter of unending crises has been under Israeli siege for nearly two decades. Israel, with the support of the United States since 2006/2007 has blockaded the enclave from air, sea and land, isolating its nearly two million residents on a tiny patch of land. This siege by Israel has not only devastated the economy of Gaza, but has also led to what the UN has called the “de-development” of the world’s largest open-air prison.”
Engr. Balogun said the UN must find an alternative way of conducting a true peace process which takes into consideration the aspiration for a sovereign Palestinian state.
“The international community led by the UN must retrieve the peace process from the monopoly of the United States which has become part of the Israeli occupation machine,” it added.
The group appreciated the Nigerian government for calling on both sides to de-escalate and embrace peace and dialogue.
It, however, urged the Nigerian Senate to pass a bill that will scale down the diplomatic relations with Israel for its reckless violations of the UN resolutions.
“We call on the Arab Nations, Muslim world, including the Nigerian government and leaders with conscience to exert pressure that will change the apartheid character of Israel and make it conform to international laws and norms. We call on the Arab nations, especially the Gulf states in the Middle East who have already normalised relations with Israel to terminate it and for those who are working towards it to halt it, in honour of their brothers in Palestine who are being killed indiscriminately by the occupation forces.”
Also speaking at the event, the grand Mufti of the organisation, Sheikh Dhikrullah Shafi’i insisted that Hamas, the Palestinian resistance group that governs Gaza strip, isn’t a terrorist organisation as it has been so labeled in the Western media and their mentees.
According to him, they are freedom fighters and a resistance group democratically elected to govern the Gaza strip. They are the custodians of Masjid Al-Aqsa (Aqsa Mosque), Muslims’ third holiest mosque.
Sheikh Shafi’i also lamented the casualties that have resulted from Israel’s offensive, saying schools, religious institutions including mosques and churches have been destroyed.
“So far, from reliable reports, Israel has destroyed at least 2,189 residential buildings, 18 mosques were utterly destroyed, while seven ancient mosques and churches were partially damaged. 143 schools were also attacked and 18 brought down due to continuous Israeli airstrikes.
“The world must stop Israel now to prevent yet another human catastrophe in Gaza, which has also seen the exodus of over 1.1 million Palestinians evacuated to the Southern part of the besieged territory ahead of Israel’s ground invasion.”
The revered Muslim scholar commended Arab countries in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, OIC, that have provided humanitarian supports to Gaza since the beginning of the war.
He noted that they have acted in unison to deter Israel from its naked aggression, but further urged them to militarily equip the Palestinians in order to defend themselves against the continuous aggression of the Zionist Israel.
On his part, the Chief Imam of Adangba Central Mosque, Sheikh Abdulrahman Adangba called for a just arbitration for both sides to co-exist in peace.
Adangba, a member of the Ulamaa wing, also solicited for cessation of war and demanded for justice where necessary for enduring peace in the Middle East.
According to him, the two-state solution remains the only panacea to the crisis adding that continued war or onslaught in the Middle East is far from the solution.
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