Every year on November 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People is observed by the United Nations and around the world. This is in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 32/40B of December 2, 1977 and 34/65D of December 12, 1979. November 29 was chosen because of its special significance to the Palestinian people, as the day, when in 1947, the General Assembly adopted resolution 181 (II), which eventually became known as the Partition Resolution. That resolution provided for the establishment of a “Jewish State” and an “Arab State” in Palestine. Up till today, only the Zionist Jewish State has come to being, while the plight of the Palestinian people has become a major blot on the conscience of humanity.
Conscience of humanity
The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People has therefore offered opportunity for humanity to focus attention on the unresolved issue of Palestine and the fact that the Palestinian people have yet to exercise the inalienable right to self-determination; national independence; sovereignty and the right of return to their homeland.
It is indicative of the reactionary nature of the contemporary international system that the Palestinian Question has been pushed to the backburner of discourse and in many instances; the dominant paradigm has been framed by Zionist Israel and the world imperialist system as well as a complicit international media system. Unlike a couple of years back and especially in my generation of students and working class activists, today many people do not really understand or appreciate the issues around the plight of the Palestinian people. This deep-seated ignorance also has an unfortunate religious dimension which has played into the propaganda of Zionist Israel. The spike in Pentecostal Christianity has also seen the strengthening of a “Christian Zionist” movement which literally sees support for Zionist Israel as a religious duty. That blinds them to two central facts; the first is that the Zionist Israeli is not even a Christian but a Jewish entity; and the fact that it is Palestinians that are actually Christian and Muslim and therefore their brothers and sisters in faith, whose national rights, humanity and dignity are assaulted everyday, under occupation, in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Today, while Africans and the world have dismantled apartheid in South Africa, apartheid is however alive and well in the relationship between the Zionist state of Israel and the occupied people of Palestine.
The Middle East is one of the most volatile regions of our world today. It is a scene of wars and unending crises. It saw a series of Arab-Israeli wars dating back to the 1940s, 1967and 1973. The region witnessed the illegal Anglo-American invasion and occupation of Iraq; the emergence of terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS. These conflict situations have reverberations and are extrapolated into other regions of the world, including even inside the imperialist Western countries, as we saw with 9-11 and the recent bombings of France. At the heart of these conflicts has been the inability of the world powers through a deep-seated hypocrisy and bias, to find a resolution to the Palestinian Question. In the past two decades or so, the Zionist state of Israel has become more arrogant in its intransigence, while the various wars that it launched against the Palestinian people in Gaza, employing weapons supplied by mainly the United States, have led to the destruction of even the little the Palestinian people have. It unleashes the terror of one of the strongest armies in the world against a people that do not have an army or an airforce. The killings of mainly Palestinian civilians and hundreds of children have been televised around the world. The images triggered the deepening of abhorrence for the ways of the arrogant Zionist Israeli state; and as a result the International Boycott and Divestment Campaign against Zionist Israel has gathered momentum around the world. Leading intellectuals, public figures and scientists revolted by the Zionist Israeli treatment of the Palestinian people and the cruel arrogance of the Zionist Israeli state, are increasingly endorsing or joining the international movement to boycott Israel.
As the United Nations and people around the world mark International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People this year, I hope that many more of our compatriots would begin to give a thought to the plight of the Palestinian people. It is one of the last issues of denial of the rights of a people in the world today. Nigeria has always actively supported the cause of liberation from the early days of our national independence. And it never mattered that we had a military or civilian government; the support for national independence against colonialism, apartheid and Zionism were central to Nigerian Foreign Policy, until Goodluck Jonathan took the decision to betray our Foreign Policy tradition by voting against Palestine at the United Nations at the behest of Benjamin Netanyahu, the hawkish and ultra-reactionary Israeli Prime Minister! Thankfully, the Nigerian people voted out the Jonathan administration which was content to play the puppet, kowtowing to the Western powers and to Zionist diktat. At his recent address to the UN General Assembly, President Muhammadu Buhari reaffirmed Nigeria’s solidarity with the Palestinian people, thus reconnecting with our proud Foreign Policy tradition. That is as it should be! The world owes the Palestinian People the restoration of their national rights, namely the right to self-determination, national independence and sovereignty and the right of return!