Nigeria, Seven Other Nations Demand Immediate Halt to Arms Supply to Israel

·    Africa’s most populous country backs Biden’s ceasefire proposal

·    Israeli forces rescue four hostages in Gaza

Emmanuel Addeh and Michael Olugbode in Abuja

The D-8, a group of developing nations, at the weekend called on all countries of the world to stop supplying arms to Israel, and urged the United States to lift its veto on the full membership of Palestine as an independent and sovereign state in the United Nations.

Palestine is currently a non-member observer state, a de facto recognition of statehood granted it by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012.

In a declaration after a meeting in Istanbul of its council of ministers, including Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Turkey, D-8 demanded “an immediate, permanent and unconditional ceasefire, the cessation of the Israeli aggression on the Palestinian people in Gaza, and the immediate implementation of the relevant UN Resolutions”.

It also called on countries around the world to ensure that Israel strictly complied with the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which required the regime to immediately halt its offensive on Gaza and withdraw from the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where people sheltered from bombardments elsewhere.

D-8 reiterated that the “brutal Israeli aggression” on Gaza must end to allow humanitarian aid to reach people in need in the Palestinian territory.

The statement called on all countries to “stop supplying weapons and ammunition to Israel that are used by its army and extremist settlers to kill the Palestinian people and destroy their homes, hospitals, schools, mosques, churches and all their properties”.

D-8 members called on the United States to “lift its veto on the full membership of Palestine in the UN as an independent and sovereign State”.

Besides, the group condemned Israel for actions that could cause the war in Gaza to spread to other parts of the region, including “unjustifiable attacks” targeting the Iranian embassy in Damascus, Syria, in April.

The United Nations General Assembly last month backed a Palestinian bid to become a full UN member by recognising it as qualified to join and recommending the UN Security Council “reconsider the matter favourably”.

The Palestinian push for full UN membership comes several months into a war between Israel and Palestinian militants, Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, and as Israel is expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank, which the UN considers to be illegal.

As the Palestinian death toll in Gaza exceeds 36,000 and a humanitarian crisis engulfs the enclave, human rights groups and other critics have faulted the US for providing weapons to Israel and largely defending Israel’s conduct.

On Saturday, Israeli military said they rescued alive four hostages, who were seized by Hamas during the October 7 attack in which Israel said 1,200 people were killed and 250 abducted.

Israel announced its forces rescued the four hostages from a Gaza refugee camp in an operation, which the Hamas-run government media office said left 210 Palestinians dead and hundreds wounded.

The Israeli military said the four, who were in “good medical condition”, had been kidnapped from the Nova music festival during Hamas’s attack that sparked the war, now in its ninth month.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, called for immediate global action to de-escalate the spate of extreme violence against non-combatants in the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Tuggar, in a statement yesterday, also confirmed Nigeria’s support for the proposals put forward by US President Joe Biden for a ceasefire.

He said, “The Biden ceasefire proposal should be embraced by world leaders and the totality of the international community— to intensify efforts towards a speedy resolution of the conflict, and the immediate cessation of the attendant extreme violence in Gaza and all other innocent civilians affected by the conflict.

“Equally important is the continuous, sufficient and unhindered provision of lifesaving humanitarian supplies and services for civilians.”

The minister assured the US of Nigeria’s support to bring about a complete cessation of violence and an end to the loss of human lives and manmade humanitarian crisis.

He said, “We are concerned that the ongoing carnage is setting a bad precedent for the international system of justice and are mindful that justice is antithetical to revenge. The Biden plan presents a clear path towards progress and the conditions required for peace.”

Biden’s proposal includes a deal that will lead to a permanent ceasefire, a surge in humanitarian aid, the release of hostages, and a major reconstruction plan to rebuild homes, schools, and hospitals.

According to the minister, Nigeria believes the Biden plan is the best way forward for all parties and can prevent any repetition of the tragic deaths on June 8, of more than 200 people at the Nuseirat refugee camp.

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