The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against joining the Arab world in fighting Israel as advocated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.
This is “because Nigeria is a secular state” CAN posits.
Erdogan reportedly called “for the international community to teach the necessary lesson to unlawful, unjust and unscrupulous Israel due to its attacks against Palestine, President Erdogan voiced his belief that Nigeria would show solidarity with the Palestinians in this rightful cause.”
Said Barr. Daramola Joseph Bade
National Secretary, CAN, “We are worried that Nigeria which was wrongly labelled an Islamic State because of her unlawful membership of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) has been taking side with the Palestinians since the emergence of President Muhammadu Buhari. Hence why the Turkish President asked Nigeria to identify with the Palestinians.
“On behalf of every Nigerian Christian, we call on the Federal government to reverse itself on the support that has been given to the Palestinians to date. For the record, millions of Nigerian Christians are in support of Israel against the position of the government. We once again remind the Federal government and the National Assembly that Nigeria is not an Islamic State.
“We call on the International community to intervene in the ongoing bloody actions in the Middle East without taking side if they truly wanted an enduring peace. We agree with the United States that Israel has the right to defend herself against external aggression. We see no reason why Nigeria should take side with either of the warring factions.”
Explainer: How did the latest Israeli-Palestinian crisis emerge?
By Yuliya Talmazan
Tensions in the region had been simmering for over a month but they boiled over this week.
Tensions have been simmering for over a month, but this week they boiled over as violence exploded between Israel and the Palestinians.
Thousands of rockets have been fired from Gaza and while Israel initially responded with airstrikes, on Thursday its artillery began targeting positions in the blockaded Palestinian enclave.
But what prompted the latest escalation of violence?
Roots of the current crisis
Tensions started to brew at the start of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan in mid-April when Israeli police put up barriers at the Damascus Gate on the north side of Jerusalem’s walled Old City, where Muslim worshippers gather after their evening prayers at the Al-Asqa Mosque.
Thousands of Palestinians descended on the area to protest the policy, with dozens hurt in clashes with police and nationalist Israelis that saw crowds hurl firecrackers, stones and other objects while police responded with stun grenades and water cannons.
Elsewhere, in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, tensions were high over a long-running legal case that left four Palestinian families facing eviction from their homes on land claimed by Jewish settlers. The case was set to be heard by Israel’s Supreme Court, although the hearing was postponed as protests grew.
Clashes then took place in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam, which sits in a compound sacred to both Muslims and Jews, and led the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which rules over the Gaza Strip, to threaten that Israel would pay a heavy price.
On Monday, it began firing rockets toward Jerusalem. Israel initially responded with bombardments of the tiny, impoverished Gaza, home to 2 million Palestinians, but on Thursday tanks within Israel’s borders began joining the attacks on positions in the enclave as Hamas rockets continued to strike.
After the creation of the state of Israel in 1948, east Jerusalem was controlled by Jordan, while the west of the city was controlled by Israelis.
This changed after Israel captured the eastern part of the city during the Six-Day War in 1967, when it also took the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Sinai Peninsula, although this was later returned to Egypt.
East Jerusalem, the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Gaza are still considered occupied territory under United Nations Security Council resolutions. Israeli settlements in occupied territory are also considered illegal by most nations.
Within the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City is a sprawling plateau, which Jews call the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism and historically known as the site of the two biblical temples. The walled plateau, which Muslims refer to as the Noble Sanctuary, is also home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Islamic Dome of the Rock shrine and is also venerated in Christianity.
Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its eternal and indivisible capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern section as a capital of a future state.
So former President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2018 enraged Palestinians, some of their Western allies and Muslims across the world, and left many Arabs afraid they will eventually be forced out of the city.
Evictions in east Jerusalem
Anger over the long-running legal case involving the homes of the four Palestinian families on land claimed by Jewish settlers has added to tensions in the city.
Palestinian families have lived in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood for decades, but the settler groups claim the land the houses were built on was originally owned by Jewish organizations before 1948.
Israel has tried to portray the case as a real estate dispute between private parties, but the treatment of the homeowners has drawn international criticism.
Activists say the legal battle in Sheikh Jarrah is one part of a systematic effort by settler groups to change the demography of east Jerusalem by displacing Palestinians and moving Jewish people to the area.
Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem are home to some 220,000 people. It has severely limited the growth of Palestinian neighborhoods, leading to overcrowding and the unauthorized construction of thousands of homes that are at risk of demolition.
Israel’s Supreme Court was set to hear appeals against the planned evictions Monday, but delayed the hearing because of the escalation of fighting.
Politics plays a role
The increased tensions have come amid a power vacuum in both Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
After the country’s fourth election in two years failed to produce a governing majority, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — who is on trial for corruption — missed the deadline to form a new government earlier this month, granting the opposition a chance to do so.
But this week’s violence has sidelined those efforts, with negotiations to form a new coalition suspended due to the deteriorating situation and Netanyahu looking set to hold on to power in the short term at least.
On the other side, Palestinians were due to hold their first elections in more than 15 years this month, but they were postponed by President Mahmoud Abbas, whose Fatah party controls much of the West Bank. He blamed Israel for refusing to allow voting in east Jerusalem, but many Palestinian voters decried it as an excuse to avoid the elections, which Abbas looked set to lose.
Hamas, which is regarded as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel, has ruled Gaza since 2006. Since then, it has been blockaded by Israel and Egypt, leaving the economy in tatters.
Human rights groups say residents are forced to live with scarce food, medicine and electricity. But Hamas was nonetheless expected to do well in elections.
The U.S., along with many other nations, has long supported a so-called two-state solution, which has been accepted in diplomatic circles since the mid-1990s as the only way to ensure peace and justice for Palestinians and Israelis.
But decades of peace talks, sometimes mediated by the U.S., have failed to achieve a solution.
Trump made the conflict a centerpiece of his foreign policy, proposing a peace plan early last year that he said would create a conditional path to statehood for Palestinians while recognizing Israeli sovereignty over a significant portion of the West Bank.
It was rejected by the Palestinians and criticized by many analysts.
With a new administration in office, President Joe Biden has so far signaled little interest in reviving the peace process. But the most recent escalation, and pressure from within his own party, could force it higher on his agenda.
▪︎ Talmazan, a London-based journalist wrote this for NBCnews.com.
Israel-Palestine Conflict Highlights: Biden administration approved $735 million arms sale to Israel
MAY 17, 2021 / 11:01 PM IST
Israel-Palestine Conflict Highlights: Speaking at the UN Security Council meeting, India’s Permanent Representative reiterated support for a ‘two-state solution’.
Israel-Palestine Conflict Highlights: The conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants continues to escalate. Israeli fighter jets unleashed a series of heavy airstrikes at multiple locations in Gaza City earlier today. This came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled the fourth war with Gaza’s Hamas rulers would rage on. Hamas also pressed on, launching rockets from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel. Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, launched the rocket attacks last week, in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, in East Jerusalem. According to Israel’s defence forces, more than 2,000 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel since the start of the conflict, around half of them intercepted by the ‘Iron Dome’ air defence systems. Civil unrest between Jews and Arabs in Israel itself dealt a strong blow to efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents to unseat the Israeli leader after a series of inconclusive elections, giving rise to expectations that Israelis will go to the polls for an unprecedented fifth time in just over two years.
MAY 17, 2021 / 10:42 PM IST
Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | US blocks third draft UN statement on Mideast violence: Diplomats
The United States on Monday blocked — for the third time in a week — the adoption of a joint UN Security Council statement calling for a halt to Israeli-Palestinian violence and the protection of civilians, diplomats said.
The text drafted by China, Tunisia and Norway was submitted late Sunday for approval Monday by the Council’s 15 members, as Israeli jets continued to pound the Gaza Strip and the death toll from nearly a week of violence passed 200.
The United States indicated that they “could not currently support an expression” by the Security Council, one diplomat told AFP.
The text, obtained by AFP, called for “de-escalation of the situation, cessation of violence and respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians, especially children.”
It voiced the Council’s “grave concern” at the Gaza crisis and its “serious concern” regarding the possible eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem, opposing “unilateral actions” likely to further escalate tensions.
The draft also welcomed international efforts to de-escalate the situation, without reference to the United States, and reiterated the Council’s support for a negotiated two-state solution allowing Israelis and Palestinians to “live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders.” (AFP)
MAY 17, 2021 / 10:56 PM IST
Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Biden administration approved $735 million arms sale to Israel
President Joe Biden’s administration approved the potential sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel, and congressional sources said on Monday that US lawmakers were not expected to object to the deal despite violence between Israel and Palestinian militants.
Three congressional aides said Congress was officially notified of the intended commercial sale on May 5, as part of the regular review process before major foreign weapons sales agreements can go ahead.
Congress was informed of the planned sale in April, as part of the normal informal review process before of the formal notification on May 5. Under US law, the formal notification opens up a 15-day window for Congress to object to the sale, which is not expected despite the ongoing violence. (Reuters)
MAY 17, 2021 / 10:20 PM IST
Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Israeli strikes hit Gaza tunnels as diplomats work for truce
The Israeli military unleashed a wave of heavy airstrikes Monday on the Gaza Strip, saying it destroyed 15 kilometres (9 miles) of militant tunnels and the homes of nine Hamas commanders as international diplomats worked to end the weeklong war that has killed hundreds of people.
Israel has said it intends to press on for now with its attacks against Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, and the United States signalled it would not pressure the two sides for a cease-fire.
The latest attacks destroyed the five-story building housing the Hamas-run Religious Affairs Ministry and killed a top Gaza leader of Islamic Jihad, another militant group whom the Israeli military blamed for some of the thousands of rocket attacks launched at Israel in recent days.
At least 200 Palestinians have been killed in the week of airstrikes, including 59 children and 35 women, with some 1,300 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, have been killed in the ongoing rocket attacks launched from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel. (AP)
MAY 17, 2021 / 09:54 PM IST
Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | UN General Assembly to meet over Mideast violence on May 20
The UN General Assembly will meet on Thursday over fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants, General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said on Monday as the fiercest hostilities in the region in years entered a second week.
Niger and Algeria, chairs of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation group and Arab group in New York, asked the 193-member General Assembly meet publicly “in light of the gravity of the situation and its rapid deterioration.”
The 15-member U.N. Security Council met publicly for the first time on Sunday over the flare-up in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
The council has been unable to issue a public statement because the United States – a strong ally of Israel – worries it could harm behind-the-scenes diplomacy. China said on Sunday it would again push the council to try and agree a statement. (Reuters)
MAY 17, 2021 / 09:38 PM IST
Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Gaza reels under Israeli strikes as violence enters second week
Israeli jets kept pounding Gaza Monday afternoon, as the enclave’s residents cowered indoors and the violence that has killed more than 200 people, most of them Palestinians, entered a second week.
Before dawn, within just a few minutes, dozens of Israeli strikes bombarded the crowded Palestinian coastal strip controlled by Islamist group Hamas.
Flames lit up the sky as intense explosions shook Gaza City, sparking widespread power cuts and damaging hundreds of buildings, local authorities said.
Some 3,200 rockets have been fired by Palestinian militants toward Israel since the conflict escalated on May 10 in the heaviest exchange of fire in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem. (AFP)
MAY 17, 2021 / 09:09 PM IST
Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Secretary Blinken indicates no immedi ate US press for Mideast cease-fire
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken signalled that the United States still was not joining calls for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers as fighting entered its second week, with more than 200 people dead, most of them Palestinians in Gaza.
Blinken’s stand comes despite growing pressure from the United States’ UN Security Council partners, some Democrats and others for President Joe Biden’s administration and other international leaders to wade more deeply into diplomacy to end the worst Israel-Palestinian violence in years and revive long-collapsed mediation for a lasting peace there. (AP)
MAY 17, 2021 / 07:17 PM IST
Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | 6-year-old Gaza girl survives Israeli strike that shattered her family and home
Six-year-old Suzy Eshkuntana woke up alone in Gaza’s largest hospital where she was rushed by rescuers from the rubble of her home, which had been wrecked by a pre-dawn Israeli strike that killed her mother and all four of her siblings.
The young girl, trapped for seven hours under the debris, was reunited in Shifa hospital with her father, who was also being treated for his wounds.
“Forgive me, my daughter. You screamed to me to come to you, but I couldn’t come,” Riyad Eshkuntana told her after medics brought them together in adjoining beds.
The Palestinian family’s home was hit in Israeli air strikes early on Sunday on Gaza City, a wave of attacks that Gaza health officials said killed 42 people including 10 children and raised the death toll in Gaza from a week of bombardment to 192.
Israel says it is attacking the militant Islamist Hamas movement that controls the densely populated Gaza Strip and that along with Islamic Jihad and other militant groups has fired 2,800 rockets towards Israeli cities.
Those rocket barrages have killed 10 people in Israel, including two children. They have also sent millions of Israelis scrambling to “safe rooms” and shelters as rocket warning sirens go off at all hours of the day and night. read more
“The reason we have these casualties is because Hamas is criminally attacking us from civilian neighbourhoods,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. broadcaster CBS. (Reuters)
MAY 17, 2021 / 06:41 PM IST
Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he has not seen any Israeli evidence of Hamas operating in Gaza building
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he has not seen any Israeli evidence of Hamas operating in Gaza office building hit by airstrike over the weekend. Blinken says he has asked Israel for justification for the strike. Blinken spoke at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, as pressure is increasing on the Biden administration to ask for a ceasefire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Israel destroyed a building housing The Associated Press and other media, and claimed that Hamas used the building for a military intelligence office.
“Shortly after the strike we did request additional details regarding the justification for it,” Blinken said. He declined to discuss specific intelligence, saying he “will leave it to others to characterize if any information has been shared and our assessment that information.”
But he said, “I have not seen any information provided.”
MAY 17, 2021 / 05:10 PM IST
Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Turkey urges Pope to back sanctions on Israel
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked Pope Francis to support sanctions against Israel, saying Palestinians will continue to be “massacred” as long as the international community does not punish Israel.
During a telephone telephone call Monday with the pope, Erdogan also said that “continued messages and reactions” from Francis in support of Palestinians would be of great importance for the “mobilisation of the Christian world and of the international community,” according to a statement from the Turkish presidential communications directorate
MAY 17, 2021 / 04:47 PM IST
Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Israeli air strike kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza
An Israeli air strike killed a top commander with the Islamic Jihad militant group in Gaza on Monday, the Israeli military and a source in the group said.
The killing of Hussam Abu Harbeed, Islamic Jihad’s northern division commander, was likely to draw a fierce response from the militant group as Israel’s fighting also rages on with the enclave’s Islamist rulers Hamas.
In a statement confirming it had killed Harbeed, the Israeli military said he “was behind several anti-tank missile terror attacks against Israeli civilians.”
The military said those attacks included one on the first day of the current round of fighting that it said had injured a civilian in Israel.
Harbeed had been a commander with Islamic Jihad for 15 years, the military said. (PTI).
Updates on Israeli/Palestinian conflict: Nigeria Chiristian Body Urges Govt Not To Pitch Tent Against Israel; More From NBC, Moneycontrol.com
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against joining the Arab world in fighting Israel as advocated by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey.