Israeli Genocidal Crimes in Gaza and Global Aficionados: The Emerging ABUAD School of Thought

Bola A. Akinterinwa 

I sraelo-Palestinian Gaza war is particularly most disturbing for different special reasons. First, it has special aficionados, who, as a result of their special interest in the war, are prolonging the war. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, is at the epicenter of the aficionados. As epicentre, he needs the continuation of the war to sustain his political survival and to stay further in power. Other aficionados, like Germany, United Sates, and the United Kingdom, do also prolong the war by supplying Israel with arms and sustaining the war effort of Israel. Their interest in Israel completely ignores the implication of the Israeli genocide that they are also violating the Genocide Convention.

Secondly, Germany was the agent provocateur in the First Genocide of the 20th Century. The first genocide was the German genocide of the Nama and the Herero people which took place from 1904 to 1907 in Namibia. Germans were directly involved in the genocide by dispatching soldiers from Germany to Namibia to deal with the rebellion of the Herero. The Herero are the indigenous people of Namibia, Botswana and Angola. Again the first genocide in the 21st Century is the ongoing Israeli genocide in Gaza. In both cases, Germany was and still is, an agent provocateur. Germans are also directly supplying arms to Israel, which has prompted Nicaragua to take Germany to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), alleging complicity and therefore of violation of the Geneva Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

The Nama and the Herero genocide was a resultant from the rebellion-led by Chief Samuel Maharero on 12 January, 1904. The rebellion was in protest against government’s policy of systematic land confiscation and encouragement of more German settlement in Namibia. Lieutenant-General Lothar von Trotha and the German colonial forces were directly responsible for the genocidal crimes. In between 24,000 and 100,000 Herero were killed, while 10,000 Nama people were killed. The current Israeli genocide of Palestinians is generating global concerns in the context of how to maintain international peace and security.

Israeli Genocidal Crimes in Gaza 

Opinion is divided as to whether one can rightly talk about Israeli genocidal crimes. Those who argue that there is nothing like genocide are either mouthpieces of the western aficionados of Israel. They plead the case of right of legitimate defence. They also say the Israelis are children of God and, therefore, should not have been attacked. The proponents of Israeli genocidal crimes underscore the factors of injustice, Israeli violations of international humanitarian law and the reckless abuses of the right of legitimate self-defence.

The 2024 Diplomatic Dialogue Forum had Professor Bola A. Akinterinwa as the Guest Speaker. He spoke on “The Israeli-Palestine Geo-Political Conflict: Implications for Global Peace and Security in the 21st Century.’ Contrarily to the opponents of genocidal crimes in Gaza, Professor Akinterinwa argued based stricto and lasu sensu, that there was no way Israeli genocidal crimes would not be established based in light of the Genocide Convention. 

Besides, he contended that ‘there is no time genocide cannot be committed. It can be committed at a time of peace and at a time of war.’ As defined in Article II of the 1948 Geneva Convention, genocide is ‘any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious, such as a) killing members of the group; b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; e) and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.’ It is necessary to also ask why the main targets of the Israeli Defence Forces are the internationally-protected people, the non-combatants, libraries, hospitals. How do we explain the fact that Israel has only succeeded in destroying 200 cultural and historical sites partially or totally?

As told by Clothilde Mraffko and Samuel Forey, ‘all that remains of the Al-Omari Mosque… are a dew sections of wall and the minaret. The building, built on the foundation of a philistine temple, then by a Byzantine church, was largely destroyed by an Israeli bombardment on December 8. Its library, built next to it and housing rare manuscripts dating back to the 14th century, suffered the same fate.’ The question is why not seek to kill the combatants? Why seek to destroy sources of knowledge? The destruction of historical monuments, educational schools and institutional reservoirs of insformation is very genocidal in character as well.

It is very useful at this juncture to understand the implication of genocide in its ramifications. First, ‘intent’ is an important definitional factor of genocide. In other words, genocide is any act committed ‘with intent to destroy…’ In this case, when is the determination of ‘intent’? When does an intent exist? Does it exist after the commission of the crime of genocide or before the commission of the offence? As we noted in our paper at ABUAD, Israel had truly engaged in genocidal crimes because a genocidal crime necessarily exists even by mere declaration of an intention to engage in the act. This was what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did when he made it clear in his policy declaration that the intention of the Israeli government is ‘to wipe out anything Hamas and Palestinian in Gaza.’ Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Palestine said Israel had committed genocidal crime. Prime Minister Netanyahu also predicted the war to last until 2025. This means that the genocidal crimes are being projected to last until 2025.

Secondly, the issue of genocide has seriously damaged the political integrity of both the Israelis and the Americans. The good image of the Americans is necessarily tainted because of the support of US government for Israel even in the face of genocidal atrocities. Israelis are generally perceived to be very stubborn even as recorded in the Holy Bible. The most dependable ally of the Israelis, the United States, is no longer able to put the Israelis under their control.

Thirdly, and perhaps most unfortunately, the number of countries showing animosity vis-à-vis the mania of Israel’s reckless and indiscriminate killing of Palestinians, especially unarmed children, the killing of UN aid workers with the effrontery of suggesting that it was a grave error have all combined to give increasing support to South Africa’s call on the International Court of Justice to look into South Africa’s violation of the Genocide Convention. In this regard, Nicaragua has taken Germany to Court for supplying arms to Israel. Colombia has also asked the same ICJ for authorization to join the suit. As a matter of fact, the international community is currently considering the establishment of a State of Palestine with or without the consent of Israel on the basis of the 1948 decision of a 2-State approach. The enemies of Israel are increasing, the conflict is deepening, andssss an end appears not to be in sight. 

Before the exegesis of the emerging ABUAD school of thought on the Israelo-Palestinian conflict, it is also useful to recall the foundational pillars as espoused by Chief Afe Babalola in his write-up in the Vanguard Newspapers published on November 22, 2023. Chief Afe Babalola first asked whether there would be an end to the hate between the Palestinians and the Israelis. He looked at the problem from a historical perspective and considered that the main bone of contention is ownership of the land of Canaan in which three specific areas are in contention: Gaza Strip, located between modern-day Israel and Egypt; the Golan Heights, located between Syria and modern-day Israel; and the West Bank between modern-day Israel and Jordan. 

Without any shadow of doubt, Chief Afe Babalola established a very extensive farm land to boost food security and exportable farming products. He has an industrial park by the side of the farm land, where the agricultural products harvested are also processed on the ground for export. There is a Youth Empowerment training facility. For further self-reliance, a water damn is currently under construction to water the mango farm, beehive farm, pepper processing factory, over 150 fish ponds, moringa and teaks plantation, etc. With these endeavours, Chief Afe Babalola wants to bring about international peace and understanding in fighting global conflicts, apparently in the strong belief that an angry man is a hungry man. In the absence of hunger, the mind can be better settled to fight societal ills. But can there really be peace?

Aficionados and the ABUAD School of Thought 

Without any whiff of sdoubt, the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) is a special privately-owned university in Nigeria. It is special because it is seeking international peace and security through knowledge dissemination, industrial and entrepreneurial engagements, promotion of good health, and philanthropic commitment to community development. Additionally, it is located on 130 hectares of land and at an altitude of more than 1,500 feet above sea level, thus providing a cool environment for learning and sporting activities. In the words of the Management of the ABUAD, the university ‘is a model which is unique in many ways… It is the only university in Nigeria, which, prior to the issuance of provisional license by the Federal Government of Nigeria, moved its permanent site and constructed magnificent College buildings and College Hostels, Staff quarters and equipped with modern teaching facilities, including E-learning platform and electronic boards within eight months.

And perhaps more interestingly, ABUAD is quite special because ‘it is the only university founded by an acclaimed educationist, the twice winner of the best Pro-Chancellor of all universities in Nigeria; a former Pro-Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Chairman of Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigeria Universities and Member of the Club of Rectors of Europe.’ In other words, the definition of the goodness of the ABUAD is also explicated by the societal status and integrity of the founder.

One cardinal objective of the ABUAD is to provide and lead others ‘in quality education, service, industry and character as… discipline operates the collegiate system.’ The ABUAD has five colleges of which one is the College of Social and Management Sciences specially reputed by the Chancellor to be actively engaged intellectually in sharing ideas on the maintenance of international peace and development. 

For instance, the Department of International Relations and Diplomacy put in place a Diplomatic Dialogue Forum in 2016. The Malaysian High Commissioner, His Excellency, Datuk Lim Juay Jin, was the Guest Speaker. He spoke on the theme ‘Nigeria-Malaysia Bilateral Relations’ during his 2-Day visit to ABUAD on 19-20 May, 2016 under the leadership of Professor Adeolu Durotoye who initiated the programme. Dr Ajinde Oluwashakin played host to retired Ambassador Adegboyega Ariyo and Professor W. A. Fawole as guest speakers in 2017. The third Diplomatic Dialogue took place in 2018, still under the leadership of Dr. Ajinde Oluwashakin, with Professor Alaba Ogunsanwo speaking on “The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Contemporary Issues and Implications for Africa and Nigeria,” and Dr. David Aworawo addressing “Beyond Regional Confines: Analysis of Conflict Resolution in Palestine Since 1948 and Implications for Africa.’

The fourth Diplomatic Dialogue focused on “Africa (Nigeria) and the Changing Global Dynamics” in 2019. Retired Nigerian Ambassador Humphrey Orjiako and Professor Warisu Alli were the guest speakers under the leadership of Dr Adaora Osondu-Oti. No dialogue was held in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, Ambassador Frank Isoh spoke on “The Russian Invasion of Ukraine and the Emerging Global Dynamics: Implications for Africa and the World. Again in 2023, focus was on “Great Powers Rivalry in Global Politics and the Future of World Order.”

What is noteworthy about the Diplomatic Dialogue from the various themes are two-fold: emphasis on implications of global happenings on Africa in general, and Nigeria, in particular; and concerns about the situation of global order. These concerns are undoubtedly about the prospects of global peace and security. It is useful to recall here the growing concerns about the making of a Third World War. As reported by the Phoenix on April 16, 2024, ‘the 3rd World War has finally come after North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un Make this Statement.’ What is the nature of the statement? It is that it has become a desideratum for North Korea to bolster its readiness for war because of the mounting tensions in the region.

More importantly, ‘Kim Jong’s Un’s directive sheds light on North Korea’s steadfast commitment to prioritising military strength over economic development, despite facing severe economic challenges exacerbated by international sanctions.’ It is against this background that the Diplomatic Dialogue series should be understood, and that the emerging ABUAD school of thought on the Israelo-Palestinian conflict should also be explained.

On the specific issue of East Jerusalem, Israel is on record to have been stubbornly disregarding every resolution of the United Nations relating to Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territories and to treat Jerusalem as an international territory. The United Nations has reserved East Jerusalem as the would-be political capital of the State of Palestine. As submitted by Professor Ogunsanwo in his 2018 paper, ‘over the years Israel had by actions on the ground, undermined that status by having its parliament, government ministries, judiciary and other agencies of government placed in Jerusalem.’ 

Why is Israel unilaterally disregarding international law, and for that matter with impunity? The United States is one major factor in understanding Israeli disrespect for both international law and particularly for international humanitarian law. The United States has always vetoed any resolution aimed at sanctioning Israel for its various violations of international law. In fact, United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May 2018. The viewpoint of Professor Ogunsanwo was that ‘while this will violate the official UN position on the status of Jerusalem, it cannot do any more harm to that position than is already the case. Nigeria should not find it difficult to recognise East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine. As at now, we do not have a diplomatic mission in Ramallah even though Palestine has had an embassy in Nigeria for decades.’ This observation again reminds of Nigeria’s policy attitude of the 1960’s. Does the accommodation of a Palestinian mission in Nigeria not imply recognition, at least of government, if not of a State? If there is recognition of government, what prevents a recognition of State?

In the same vein, Associate Professor David Aworawo has rightly pointed out that African states with pre-dominantly Muslim population have tended to support the Arab Palestinian cause while those that have dominant Christian populations generally take sides with Israel. In Nigeria, for instance, the Northern Nigerian Government generally supported the Arab cause from 1960 to 1965 when the regions had autonomy, just as the Eastern Region Government maintained very close relations with Israel.

More importantly, attitudinally, Associate Professor Aworawo argued that ‘it is only through the maintenance of a neutral position that African states can benefit maximally from both Israel and the Arab states and also contribute to the resolution of the Arab/Israel conflict.’ In his eyes, ‘this is important because a major objective of the foreign policies of African states is the promotion of world peace and avoiding being dragged into either side of the divide offers the best opportunity to fulfil her objective.’ In this regard, if it is only through the adoption of neutrality that African states can gain maximally from both the Israelis and the Arabs, how do we again explain Associate Professor Aworawo’s recommendation that African states can contribute by being neutral?

In essence, he said rightly that ‘the Arab/Israeli conflict has lingered for seven decades and hopes of resolution are far dimmer in 2018 than they were in 1948. Extreme positions by people on both sides who are unwilling to grant concessions for peace and stability have hampered peace efforts over the years.’ And true enough, this is the situation with the aficionados. Their partisan interests have not allowed reason to prevail.

One major question that the Israeli genocide has thrown up, even from the time of Nigeria’s independence, is what should be the national interest to be protected in terms of foreign policy attitude towards Israel. It can be argued that there was no case for the commission of the crime of genocide as at 1960. However, the fact was that Israel was an active supporter of apartheid South Africa, and Nigeria’s foreign policy attitude not only made Africa a primary operational area of priority, but was also ‘No Compromise with Apartheid.’ Most unfortunately, however, Nigeria was sharply divided over what the foreign policy should be. While the Western and Eastern regional governments wanted diplomatic relations with Israel, regardless of Israel’s support for apartheid and discrimination against Africans and Black people, Sir Ahmadu Bello, the then Premier of the North and Sardauna of Sokoto, was against evolving an entente with Israel. At the end, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, a deputy to Ahmadu Bello, decided in his capacity as Prime Minister, to allow Israel to open a diplomatic mission in Lagos but Nigeria would not establish a resident mission in Tel Aviv until 1992 when Ambassador Ignatius Olisemeka was accredited as Nigeria’s plenipotentiary ambassador to Israel. Today, where does Nigeria stand in the face of Israel’s genocidal crimes: neutrality, partisanship, or what?

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