While the Muslim world was observing the holy month of Ramadan, the people in the occupied territory of Palestine were yet again facing the atrocities and brutality of the Israeli forces while trying to perform their prayers in the holy mosque Al Aqsa. The aggressions are continuing and so is the number of casualties (as of yesterday, it reached over 198 people, including 58 children), while the torch-bearers of human rights and humanity are watching from the sidelines, blaming Palestine for failing to protect themselves.
Since becoming a member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in February 1974, Bangladesh has been continuing to play an active role in the activities of the organisation based on the "Islamic values for Sustainable Peace, Solidarity and Development". We are also an active member in the Al Quds Committee and resolve in reaching a solution to the Palestinian cause. Today's scenario reminds me of 1947, when persecuted Jews were given shelter in Palestine and Jewish people put up a banner that read "The Germans destroyed our families and homes—Don't destroy our hopes". Sadly, the once persecuted Jewish community are now destroying the homes, families and hopes of unarmed Palestinians, those who provided them shelter during their difficult days. It is time for the leadership to reflect and review, and come forward to establish justice.
A renowned American Philosophy Professor of MIT, Noam Chomsky, Jewish by birth (but not Zionist), refuted the argument of Israel that, in a war, casualties are normal. He said, "Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defence, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanised armour, no command in control, no army and calls it a war. It is not war, it is murder."
Another relevant comment is by an Israeli former Air Force Captain, Yonotan Shapira. When he was asked about what Israel is doing, he replied, "It is a war crime, a massive war crime, a crime not only against Palestinian people but also against the Israeli people."
Bangladesh is saddened and expresses its deepest condolences to the victims, while strongly condemning the repeated attacks by the Israeli occupation forces against the Palestinian people in Al-Quds Al-Sharif (Jerusalem), and the entire occupied land of the State of Palestine, preventing worshippers from accessing holy sites for their religious rites. We also condemn the storming by the Israeli occupation forces of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, followed by attacks on the Palestinian worshippers there. Bangladesh believes that there is no pretext that can justify killings of innocent civilians; no argument can justify the breach of international humanitarian laws and human rights standards.
As the principal organ of the UN with the mandate to ensure international peace and security, Bangladesh urges the UN Security Council to take up the issue of violence and breach of security in the Al-Quds Al- Sharif and the entire occupied land of the state of Palestine. The OIC Group at the United Nations has taken note of the current act of aggression seriously and has issued a statement which Bangladesh endorses. Bangladesh also agrees with the suggestion of the resumption of the 10th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly if the Security Council fails to uphold its responsibility.
Honourable Prime Minister of Bangladesh, in her letter to the Honourable President of the State of Palestine, said, "I take this opportunity to reiterate Bangladesh's unflinching commitment in realising the inalienable rights of the brotherly people of Palestine for an independent homeland and a sovereign and viable State of Palestine based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital."
Bangladesh continues to maintain its principled position for a comprehensive and durable solution to the Palestinian issue in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, and the Quartet Road Map. We believe that the international community should come together towards realising this solution.
Bangladesh opines that the decisions taken during the June 10, 2020 Open-Ended Virtual Extraordinary Meeting of the OIC Executive Committee, at the level of Foreign Ministers, on the threats of the Israeli occupation government to annex parts of the State of Palestine's territory (occupied since 1967), are noteworthy and the international community in general and the OIC members in particular should continue their efforts to implement them. Implementation of the directives, together with our decisions from the open-ended meeting of the OIC Executive Committee at the level of Foreign Ministers to discuss the ongoing developments in Palestine (held on May 16, 2021 virtually), will lead towards the realisation of a comprehensive solution for the Palestinian cause.
Only by mobilising and optimising our synergies can we create a society of shared peace and stability, which our future generations will inherit. At this crucial junction, let us stand strong together and work for the betterment of humanity, and finally stop this massacre.
Dr AK Abdul Momen, MP is the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh.