A Nigerian human rights organisation, Muslim Awareness International (MAI) has called on the United Nations (UN) and world leaders to enforce UN Resolution 237 against Israel.
The resolution was adopted by the United Nations Security Council on June 14, 1967, after the Arab-Israeli War.
The resolution called on the State of Israel to ensure the safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the areas where its military operations took place during the war, and to facilitate the return of those inhabitants who had fled.
However, Israel has consistently disregarded the resolution since 1967, as the number of Palestinian refugees who fled their land during the war has increased exponentially in different neighbouring countries, with no plan from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to facilitate their return to their occupied homes..
MAI made the call at the 2017 Aqsa Day held last week Friday in Lagos, with the theme: “The Major Minority: The Muslim World in the Face of Relegation and Persecution.”
No fewer than 2000 Muslims graced the event that saw two seasoned Muslim scholars, Dr Tajudeen Yusuf and Ustadh Ismail Busayri speak on the topics: “The Palestinian Struggle: Lessons for the Muslim Ummah” and “Selective Justice; History, Relevance, and Significance of the Palestinian Struggle” respectively.
Ustadh Busayri noted that there are over 5 million Palestinian refugees scattered all over the world. They are in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and other parts of the world.
According to him, rather than adhering strictly to this and other resolutions, particularly UN Resolution 242 which emphasizes the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war, Israel has continued to build new homes on stolen land in West Bank for its citizens and its leaders, especially those in diaspora, while encouraging the would-be-settlers to return.
He said: “Just in October 2017, Israel approved a plan to build 2500 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank. This was the biggest settlement to be announced since 2013. What did the UN do? The body only condemned the move but couldn’t do anything. All efforts to sanction the Zionist regime have been frustrated by the US’s unflinching support of Israel.
“While the building of illegal settlements in the West Bank continued unabated, Palestinians in Gaza Strip has been under siege orchestrated by Israel.”
A Senior Lecturer at the University of Lagos, Dr Tajudeen Yusuf said the 2006 Gaza War exacerbated the sufferings of the 1.8 million Gazan residents.
According to him, since then, they have gone through existential deprivation, military annihilation and socio-economic deprivation, as well as lack of access to the outside world.
“The Palestinian solution was the use of tunnels through which foods and other essential commodities were smuggled into Gaza.”
The convener, Engineer Abdul Waheed Atoyebi called on world leaders and the United Nations to address the plight of the Muslim minorities, particularly in Palestine, Myanmar (Rohingya) and Kashmir with seriousness and sincerity, saying that only justice can solve the problems.
Engr. Atoyebi in his welcome address said the injustice meted on the minority Muslims globally is uncalled for.
“Unfortunately, the world leaders including the UN are not just. We all witnessed in shock the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and the continuous annihilation of the Palestinians in the hands of the Israelis, yet the world has done little to nothing to stem such tides.
“Kashmir also remains a hot-spot, and has been a subject of dispute and bitter conflict between India and Pakistan from the time of its partitioning in 1947. Young Kashmiris continue to protest the Indian occupation and brutal repression, and are being blinded by steel pellets fired from Indian guns.
The hypocrisy of the world powers is such that a referendum was secured for South Sudan to break away from Sudan, yet Kashmiris have waited in vain for a referendum to decide their fate with India, which keeps spinning all forms of subterfuge to prevent and abort such exercise”, Engr. Atoyebi, the MAI Director said.