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Muslim leaders demand world powers to end Israeli aggression against Palestinian people

– Anwarulhaq Baig

New Delhi, October 18, 2023: Prominent Muslim leaders have called on the international community, including the United Nations Security Council and the Muslim World League, to put an end to Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people, holding Israel responsible for waging a war in the region.

The president of the largest Indian Muslim organization, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, and founding member of Saudi Arabia-based Muslim World League (MWL), Maulana Syed Arshad Madani, has appealed to the UN Security Council and the leaders of MWL to end Israeli terrorism against the Palestinian people and intervene swiftly to halt the ongoing deadly bombings on the civilians in Gaza.

In a strongly worded statement, expressing disappointment over the recent UNSC meeting, which failed to produce a resolution due to the reluctance of major powers, Maulana Arshad Madani warned that failure to do so could lead to an escalation of the conflict, with potential global repercussions.

According to the latest figures, around 3,500 people have been killed, and over 13,000 people have been injured in Gaza in Israeli attacks since October 7. Half of the casualties are women and children.

World leaders have condemned the Israeli attack on a historic al-Ahli Arab Hospital associated with the Anglican Church in Gaza, where over 500 people were killed on Tuesday.

Highlighting the dire situation in Gaza, where Israel’s actions are depriving Palestinians of their right to live in peace, Maulana Madani condemned the Israeli military’s aggression, and described it as part of a long-standing pattern of terror.

Maulana Madani accused Israel of being an occupying force that has received support from some world powers. Noting that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has persisted for 75 years without a lasting solution, Maulana Madani blamed some major world powers of pursuing self-interest in the West Asia, which has led to the suffering of the Palestinian people under Israeli occupation.

Expressing surprise over certain sections of the Indian media labeling Hamas as a terrorist group, Maulana Madani, who calls it an organization fighting for Palestinian rights, reminds that India has consistently advocated for peace and the rights of the Palestinian people, and over the years, prominent Indian leaders, from Mahatma Gandhi and Pandit Nehru to Indira Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, have lent their support to the Palestinian cause.

Lauding the bravery of the Palestinian people, who have mounted a counterattack in response to what he termed “tyrant” Israeli actions, Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind, deplored the Israeli attacks on Gaza as a serious violation of human rights, expressing concern over the silence of some nations and international organizations that claim to champion global peace and human rights.

Asserting that Israel has hindered peace efforts and continued its territorial expansion into Palestinian territories, creating a dire situation where Palestinians are increasingly marginalized in their homeland, Maulana Arshad Madani has contended that the ongoing Israeli aggression has provoked the Palestinian people to resist. Underlining the Palestinians’ struggle for the freedom of their homeland and the recovery of Jerusalem, the First Qibla of the Muslims, he proposed a solution based on the United Nations’ decision to establish an independent Palestinian state.

In a statement, terming Hamas’s recent attacks on Israel, as a natural reaction of Israeli continuous aggressions against Palestinians, including its breach of pacts, injustices, and the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani criticized labeling the Palestinian resistance as terrorism.

Referring to Israel as an occupying force, Maulana Rahmani highlighted India’s historical support for oppressed Palestinians. According to him, this is now in stark contrast to the current stance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has shifted away from this position to endorse Israel, the oppressor.

Calling for an immediate ceasefire and the creation of an independent Palestinian state in accordance with UN resolutions, he concluded that the Jewish state itself was the root cause of the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict.

Asserting that Palestinians are not aggressors, rather they are sufferers while the atrocities inflicted by Israel are not counted, KK Suhail, national secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), explained, “If one Israeli is killed in retaliation for a score of Palestinian murders, that will be big news, but the suffering of Palestinians is not counted.”

Blaming Israel’s illegal occupation and continuous mistreatment of Palestinians as responsible for the recent deadly war in the region, Dr. SQR Ilyas, National President of the Welfare Party of India (WPI), pointed to various Israeli actions, including crimes against humanity, annexation of Palestinian lands, and the siege on Gaza, as causing immense suffering.

Calling for international intervention to resolve the conflict and put an end to the Israeli occupation, Dr. Ilyas also criticized Western countries for condemning Hamas while staying silent on Israeli human rights violations.

Dr Zafar ul Islam Khan, former Chairman of Delhi Minority Commission, author and Middle East expert has stated that the Palestinian issue has come to the forefront once again, after the Hamas’s attack.

In a write up, citing several reasons for the recent attacks by Hamas or its military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, on Israel, Dr Khan writes, “First, Israel has maintained a complete siege on Gaza since 2007. There are restrictions on the movement of people, medicines, petrol, cement, and everything else. People cannot even leave Gaza for medical treatment or education. Almost 70% of the population in Gaza is unemployed. On the other hand, Israel believed, and made its supporters consider, that Gaza is not an issue; in ten to twenty years, everything will be fine, and people will live on our terms.”

According to Dr Khan, the fundamental reason behind the current attacks by the Al-Qassam Brigades is to thwart this idea that Western countries, especially the United States, can force Israel to resolve the Palestinian issue or at least make it adhere to the Oslo Accords.

According to the Oslo Accords of 1992, an independent Palestinian government should have been established within five years, but even after thirty years, this has not been achieved. Under the Oslo Accords, Palestinians were getting only 22% of the original Palestinian territory, while Israel was getting 78%, whereas under the United Nations’ 1947 plan, Jews were allocated 56% of Palestine.

Dr Khan explained that the second objective of the Al-Qassam Brigades’ attacks was to convince Arab countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, that Israel could not guarantee their security and it was, in fact, helpless. He writes, “Now, with certainty, Arab countries will reconsider and those who were thinking of normalizing relations with Israel will ponder over it again. The acts carried out on the weakness of the Palestinians have suddenly come to light, and there can be no negotiations on the issue of Israel and Palestine without the consent of the Palestinians.”

Former President of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, Dr Khan claims that the current war, whether brief or protracted, has made it clear to Arab countries that the Palestinian side is not so weak that it can be ignored or a solution imposed upon it by force.

He further writes that Israel has suffered not only psychologically but also militarily from this attack and the Israeli government and army did not know what was happening hours after the attack began, as Palestinian hackers had jammed their communication lines.

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