A CONSORTIUM of Non- Governmental Organisations in Nigeria have called on the United Nations to investigate Israel’s use of excessive force against Palestinian protesters during the closure of Muslims third holiest Mosque, Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem.
Muslim Awareness International (MAI), Centre for Global Peace Initiative (CGPI), Al-Mu’minaat Social Advocacy Project (SAP) and many others gave this charge at a world press conference held in Surulere, Lagos.
They also sought sanction from global organisations on Israel for using lethal weapons and brutal force to humiliate the Palestinians and suppress peaceful demonstration.
Scores of lovers of Palestine who turned out for the press conference were seen displaying placards with different inscriptions: ‘Save Aqsa, Free Palestine’, ‘Hands off al-Aqsa’, ‘Want Peace? End the illegal settlements’, ‘I can’t keep calm because Palestine is bleeding, Al-Aqsa is under siege’ among others.
MAI Director Abdulwaheed Atoyebi, said the restriction is a plot to deflect the world attention from the Israeli continuous illegal settlements and blur in uproars and confusion the historical facts about the ownership of the land.
Atoyebi said: “The Israeli soldiers were disappointed and shocked! They never expected the world would unite and show unflinching support for Palestine. Protesters came from different parts of the world to protest the closure of their Mosque despite Israeli’s continuous use of brutal force.
“Over 1300 people sustained injuries of varying degrees, over 300 arrested and some reported cases of deaths (three young Palestinians). This included a raid on a Palestinian hospital to capture injured persons. But this didn’t stop the Palestinians from protesting for the rights. What happened at the end? The Zionist state was forced to remove metal detectors with the cameras and lift the barrier which was meant to prevent Palestinian youth to challenge their illegality in the region.”
CGPU Director Comrade Shakiru Yekinni praised the Palestinian youths for their bravery which he said was responsible for the Israeli decision to end the continuous closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
He said: “Although there are reports that Saudi Arabia held a talk with the Israeli’s Prime Minister behind the scene to open Al-Aqsa. Likewise Jordan’s intervention, all these might be a factor but what’s obvious is the resistance spirit of the Palestinians in the face of Israeli oppression. The contributions of the Muslim organisations and human rights bodies across the world have global effects. Israel was faced with pressure from home and outside.”
Comrade Yekinni hailed the UN for probing into the death of the three Palestinians, urging that Israel should be punished for the action and several atrocities committed against the Palestinians.
He said: “UN and UNESCO have been consistent in condemning Israeli atrocities although incapacitated to impose sanctions due to favourism the Tel Aviv gets from the United States. I think, the bodies should be praised for taking a bold step to acknowledge Israeli aggression by documenting them, perhaps in the future, Israel would be prosecuted for the crimes against humanity in Palestine.
SAP Coordinator Hajia Sherifah Yusuf-Ajibade called on the Muslim women to join the #BDS movement and boycott all Israeli goods, saying it’s one of the ways of supporting Palestinian people. According to her, it is important for all right thinking people particularly women to know that the growth of this crisis is borne more by the children and women.
“I call on all women because we are the managers of the homes to boycott all items of the supporters of Israel and all products of Israel. We should make sure that we buy into the BDS movement (boycott, divest and sanction) from all of Israeli products and all of their allies. So it is important that by the time they start feeling the economic brunt, they will also know that we have the voice”, she said.
Jerusalem was the birthplace of many of the prophets whom Allah (swt) sent to the Children of Israel. Who are these people? Israel is another name for Prophet Yaqub (as), and the Children of Israel are actually descendants of Yaqub’s twelve sons, and thus the descendants of Prophets Ishaq and Ibrahim (as).
You can imagine the significance of a place where prophets among the progeny of Ibrahim (as) were born, lived, ruled and died. This is the place where Maryam (as) was born. She spent much of her life in Masjid al-Aqsa to look after it. Angel Jibreel came to her in the same Masjid, and gave her glad tidings of her virgin birth. Prophet Isa’s (as) soul was blown into her in the same place. This place saw the rule of the king-prophets Dawud and Sulayman (as). In fact, it was Sulayman (as) who built Masjid al-Aqsa; but whether it was the first ever construction or a reconstruction is disputable.
It was the first qiblah of the nation of Prophet Muhammad (sa). Before Allah (swt) ordered the qiblah to be changed to Masjid al-Haram, the Prophet (sa) used to pray towards the qiblah of the previous nations, i.e. towards Masjid al-Aqsa. “The Prophet (sa) and his Companions used to pray in the direction of Jerusalem.” (Abu Dawud 1045)
“I said: ‘Messenger of Allah, which mosque was set up first on the earth?’ He said: ‘Al-Masjid al-Haram (the sacred).’ I (again) said: ‘Then which next?’ He said: ‘It was the Masjid Aqsa.’ I (again) said: ‘How long was the space of time (between their setting up)?’ He (the Holy Prophet) said: ‘It was forty years. And whenever the time comes for prayer, pray there, for that is a mosque.’” (Muslim). To Muslims, Jerusalem houses one of the holiest Mosques, the Masjid-al-Aqsa represents a place of greatest religious significance. Muslims call to rule over Jerusalem is not driven by colonist, nationalist or material motives.