On Palestine: How will Nigeria vote?
By Mohammed Adamu
I was still mentally rummaging for a subject to write about when I saw Disu Kamor’s ‘Palestine statehood: Significance of Nigeria’s vote’ (‘Peoples Daily’, Monday, Oct 3, 2011). It made more than ‘interesting reading’, and I thought it deserves a place on my page this week.
Not only does it represent my opinion on the subject, it aptly captures Nigeria’s antecedent in the struggle for freedom and emancipation of the oppressed of the world including her consistent role in pushing for the liberation of Palestinians from what has now come to be the shameless racially-inspired, xenophobic Judeo-American vicious grip over the jugular of Palestine.
Read Kamor, the Director of Media and Communications, Muslim Public Affairs Centre, Abuja
“As a non-permanent member of the 15-nation body United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Nigeria will cast a vote on Palestinians’ bid to have a nation of their own. This vote may be the decisive vote that will free Palestine from humiliation, oppression, pain and death.
Although the Obama Administration has promised a rogue veto once the voting is in favor of Palestine, US and Israel have been putting enormous lobbying resources and crude pressure on the members of the UNSC, including Nigeria, to prevent the need and shame of using the veto.
At this crucial time, the Nigerian government, media and people must do the right thing; we must remember the glorious role we played in supporting the victims of the racist policy of apartheid in South Africa, examine our conscience and do the right thing again.
There is no reason for us to behave differently now because the policy that Israel pursues in the occupied territories is similar to that of Apartheid. President Goodluck Jonathan must consider very seriously the choices that Nigeria has to make: support the oppressed in throwing off the yoke of oppression or turn her face away from oppression.
If Nigeria opposed apartheid in the 80s, why should she tolerate it 20 years later? Nigeria already recognizes the Palestinian nation and voting against its legalization at the UN will be a direct contradiction to our foreign policy objectives in relation to the conflict.
As it did during the dark era of Apartheid, Nigeria must now show its true friendship towards the oppressed and not succumb to the tremendous pressure that the US will put on the administration to vote against the bid or abstain.
Nothing will benefit Nigeria by abstaining or voting against freedom for the oppressed. It is clear to the whole world that US is a partner-in-crime to Israel. Such a blatantly biased party cannot claim to be a peace broker and convener of any credible negotiation that the Palestinians should commit their future to.
The Jerusalem Post (20/09/11) reports that “Ehud Barak has convinced Nigeria to not support the Palestinian statehood bid, statement from the Defense Ministry reported on Tuesday. As part of the lobbyi
ng efforts, Defense Minister Ehud Barak met in New York Tuesday with President Goodluck Jonathan.
The meeting was set up about a week earlier, and – according to the statement put out by Barak’s office – was coordinated both with Netanyahu and the US.” The Permanent Secretary of Nigeria’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has denied this report.
Palestinians have endured over 40 years of the most brutal occupation, including 18 years of useless negotiations- a theatrical exhibition organized by the U S to provide excuse for Israel to intensify and consolidate illegal settlement expansion activities.
Palestinians have carried out peaceful protests to shake off a long running oppression and acts of racism. Thousands of their sons and daughters are in Israeli jails for no other reason than their refusal to be slaves in their own homeland.
The people of Gaza, still living under siege, have become guinea pigs for Israel to field-test and eventually market new horrific weapons specifically designed for powerless urban populations, such as white phosphorous bombs, and remote controlled predator drones which it used purposely to target children playing on roofs.
During Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in December 2008, U.S-supplied F-16s rained hellfire on a trapped people and ethnic cleansing became full scale genocide. On October 4, 2006, 135 former presidents, prime ministers, foreign and defense ministers, congressional leaders and heads of international organizations issued a joint call for urgent international action to end Palestinian misery.
In their statement, they declared that the conflict must end in order to assure “security and full recognition to the state of Israel within internationally recognized borders, and end to the occupation for the Palestinian people in a viable independent, sovereign state, and the return of lost land”.
The World Conference against Racism (WCAR), an international event organized by UNESCO, in the edition held in Durban (31 Aug-18 Sept 2001) themed “World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance”, declared Israeli’s state policy of Zionism and treatment of the Palestinians as racism.
It was at this event that Nigeria led other nations to demand for apologies (from countries responsible for slavery, recognition of it as a crime against humanity) and for reparations. These are some of the facts that Nigeria must remember at this crucial time that God has placed it in a position to set a whole nation free from tyranny and oppression.
These are the important things to remember when taking decisions on the crucial vote at the Security Council.
The United States and Israel know they are playing a losing game. They have placed themselves on the wrong side of justice and have refused to take important lesions in history. Majority of world nations support the Palestinian right to statehood.
It is in our national interest to stand for justice at this junction in history. Nigeria now has an important opportunity to make its voice heard through its vote at the UNSC and make a difference. Let us change the world together and grant to the Palestinians, Christians and Muslims, the promise we all need as human beings: The promise of dignity.