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The world must stop Israel from its ethnic cleansing of Palestine — CIO

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The head of ulamaa wing of the Conference of Islamic Organisations (CIO) has called for a peace process to halt the ongoing killings between Israel and Palestine on the controversial Gaza strip.

The group which comprises of several Islamic organistions urged the United Nations to wade in immediately, stop the war and convene a peace process, and enforce all peace arrangements.

CIO stated this during a world press conference on the ongoing Israeli aggression in Gaza, held at Beleke Smith memorial Mosque, Surulere, Lagos recently.

The group led by its Grand Mufti, Sheikh Dhikrullah Shafii, added that 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 machinery.

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The organisation said: “it is with a heavy heart that i welcome you all to this all-important press conference, addressing the Israeli aggression in the besieged Gaza strip in Palestine which has entered the second week. We are in grief! We are extremely sad about recent developments in Palestine which represent deep-seated injustice and oppression.

“The onslaughts by Israeli forces in the form of ceaseless and repeated bombing of Gaza is deliberately targeted at defenseless and innocent Palestinians, leading to huge loss of lives. As at the time of this press conference today Tuesday, October 17, no fewer than 2,750 Palestinians have been killed, including over 950 children and over 500 women, while over 9700 have sustained various degrees of injuries.

“There were also casualties on the side of Israel too. Just as we sympathise with our brothers, sisters and children who lost their lives, our hearts go to the families of the innocent Israelis who died in the war. However, the root cause of this carnage is the occupation by Israel and its refusal to obey international laws, especially those calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

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READ ALSO: Over 3,780 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes since Oct.7— Gaza Health Ministry

READ ALSO: Palestine envoy says over 30,000 housing units, 14 hospitals in Gaza destroyed by Israeli strikes

“Invariably, the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict is a continuation of the injustice that has been ongoing for more than 70 years (close to a century) against the Palestinians on their own soil. Apart from forceful ejection and continuous illegal expansion of settlements deemed illegal under international law, Israel has over the years wreaked havoc on Palestinians, including cruel murder of innocent citizens – young and old.

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“It’s even more depressing that the international community has remained powerless in the face of this decades-long wicked oppression and repression by Israel which has violated its rules and resolutions on several occasions, including the displacement of Palestinians from their lands during times of war, which has been widely condemned as a form of ethnic cleansing.

“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.

“But Israel with the unwavering support of the US, has violated this resolution 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 State since 2006/2007 has blockaded the enclave from air, sea and land, isolating its nearly 2 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.

UN has failed the world

“The United Nations has truly failed the world. On the issue of Palestine, it has exposed itself as pro-West, a Western puppet that has become a toothless bulldog, always helpless whenever US interest is at stake and whenever Israel flouted its rules. The UN should therefore strive to redeem its image.

“The UN must find an alternative way of conducting a true peace process which takes into consideration the aspiration for a sovereign Palestinian state. And for now, peace must be enforced.

“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 machinery.

“We appreciate the Nigerian government for calling on both sides to de-escalate and embrace peace and dialogue. The Nigerian Senate should pass a bill that will scale down our diplomatic relations with Israel for its war crimes and for turning a blind eye to all UN Resolutions.

“We call on the Arab Nations, Muslim world, as well as government and leaders with conscience to exert pressure that will change the apartheid character of the Zionist 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 subsequently, 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 of Israel.

“We also want to say unequivocally that Hamas isn’t a terrorist organisation as it has been labeled by some countries and the media. They are freedom fighters or a resistance group that was democratically elected in Gaza Strip. They are the custodians of Masjid Al-Aqsa, Muslims’ third holiest Mosque.

“We appreciate those among the Arab countries, especially in the OIC who have provided humanitarian supports for Gaza since the beginning of the war. They act in unison to deter Israel from it’s naked aggression. They should as well support Palestinians with weapons and munitions to defend themselves, families and land, the same way the US has openly declared support and even provided humanitarian and warfare supports for Israel.

“We appeal to corporate entities and high net-worth individuals to divest from Israeli companies found complicit in the occupation ongoing in Palestine.

“We also call on all men and women of conscience to at this critical juncture – boycott “made from Israel” or “made in Israel” products, and of course, products made by entities funding Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands.

Israel and its ethnic cleansing of Palestine — Islamic organisations

The ongoing Israeli offensive in Gaza which began on October 7 has added to the woes of the Palestinians. Israel has cut off electricity supply, blockaded all possible access to food and water. As we speak, the fate of over 37,000 expectant mothers are not known as they might be forced to give birth with no electricity or medical supplies in Gaza.

“So far, from reliable reports, Israel has destroyed at least 2,189 residential buildings and 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.

Therefore, since the international community has remained aloof on the turn of events, the action of Hamas in resisting the excesses of Israel cannot be wholly condemned. After all, there was no State of Israel in that region until May 14,1948, when the Zionist forces, through the support of the British government, forcefully created a home for the Jewish people on Palestinian land.

The next day, May 15, officially recognized and very sadly as the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, referring to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine and the near-total destruction of Palestinian society, saw the mass expulsion of at least 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and lands. The newly created State of Israel captured 78 percent of historic Palestine. The remaining 22 percent was divided into what are now the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip.

The international community must stand up and intervene to find a lasting solution.

to the face-off between Israel and Palestine which has claimed huge numbers of lives. Enough of the killings! It is our belief that the permanent solution to put an end to the war and ensure peace is justice! A ceasefire might be achieved sooner or later, but the two sides might still resort to war if justice isn’t served! How do we ensure justice is served? Israel should be prevailed upon to respect international laws, particularly the UN’s Resolution 242.

The oppression in Palestine is injustice against humanity. We have watched with dismay how the Israeli military pulverized Gaza, which has led to the death of Palestinian children and elderly male and female, destroyed properties including schools and hospitals. Before our eyes, Israel airstrikes blew up a convoy of ambulances in Gaza. We are shocked at such inhumane tendencies.

We Muslims in Nigeria condemn without reservation the ongoing injustice meted to the Palestinian citizens. We call on the United Nations to wade in immediately and call Israel to order.

It is sad to note that the same international community which rose to the defense of Ukraine in its war with Russia has continued to look away in the case of Palestine. Why were militia groups in Ukraine seen as freedom fighters, but Hamas in Palestine is considered a terrorist organisation even when their objective of defending their territories is similar?

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