The Ambassador of the State of Palestine to Nigeria, Abdallah Abu Shawesh, has said that Nigeria is an important country in the international community and can use its diplomatic influence to play a role in enforcing the implementation of the United Nations resolutions to end Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory.
The Ambassador at a media parley told journalists in Abuja that his country will continue to fight until they gain their freedom.
According to Shawesh: “My duty is to bring the political message, which is the issue of the State of Palestine to make sure that the Nigerian government will continue to support the cause of Palestine and of course continue to remain firm with international law on the United Nations Resolution on the Palestinian question”.
Speaking further, Shawesh said the second message is dealing with sustainable development issues.
“You might know that the Palestinian people are well-educated people; the literacy rate in Palestine is 97.3 % which means that we are on the top rank among the world in education. This means we have a good experience to deliver and to share with our Nigerian brothers”.
“Then I would also like to mention that in the governmental sector in Palestine, the Palestine centre of statistics is one of the top 10 around the world and we are ready to share our experience. Also in the agriculture sector, Palestinian can collaborate with Nigeria to develop the agricultural sector”.
“The Palestinians have made a move to go to the International Crisis Group to seek legal advice on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory. This might have consequences to the peace process as the Israeli side considers it a unilateral move. What is your view on that?
On seeking the International Crisis Group’s legal advice on Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory, Shawesh explained that: “After 75 years of Nakba(catastrophe of establishment of Israel) as you might know the majority of the Palestinian people became refugees after the destruction of their 527 villages and towns by Israeli forces, which forcefully ejected them from their homeland”.
“And after 65 years of occupation, we have no other choice but to use all legal and diplomatic means to go to the United Nations and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to put an end to this brutal occupation”.
“The Israelis consider it unilateral but I can assure you it is not unilateral because the overwhelming majority in the UN was supporting our move to go to the ICC not only the overwhelming majority, Nigeria is also supporting this move and voted in favour of the resolution which was adopted only a few days ago”.
“156 countries are in favour of our resolutions and this is one indicator, the other indicator is that we have good relations with the majority of countries in the world, and we have over 100 embassies in the world”.
“The unilateral move was done by Israel, which is denying and violating the resolution of the international community. Israel is building settlements in occupied Palestinian territory which is against international law”.
“They are building over 300 settlements, moving the Israeli citizens to the occupied Palestinian territory which is another unilateral move that contradicts international law. But our move at the international arena is a multilateral move supported by the majority of the international community”.
On US- Palestine relations in view of the killing of over 130 people in occupied territories in 2022, the Envoy said since the beginning of this year till one and half hours before you came here, 206 Palestinians have been killed; one of them was executed in the most heinous way.
“Regarding the issue of the United States, Let me take you back sixty years in history because history is very important. If the United States decides to put an end to this brutal occupation, it will not take more than one month and everything will be solved”.
“Back to the history, in 1956 when Israel, France and Britain attacked Egypt at that time, Israel occupied the Sinai Peninsula. At that time when the Soviet Union decided with the US for an end to the Israeli occupation of the Egyptian Sinai, the US President then asked the Israeli government to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula and Israel withdrew within one single night”.
“Having been said, the Americans can play a crucial role in ending this occupation but instead the US is playing a big role in maintaining this occupation with the money support, the political support and the weapon support to Israel”.
“The US has conducted half of its veto in the United Nations Security Council to protect Israel. But the US can end this occupation; this is the message President Mahmoud Abbas delivered to the UN General Assembly last week. Appointing Hady Amr is only a rhetorical lip service. We Palestinians need an action plan with a time limit to put an end to the Israeli occupation and this is the responsibility of the US”.
Shawesh however said Nigeria can play a crucial role because it has good relations with Palestine and also with Israel.
According to Shawesh, Nigeria is the 7th most populous country in the world, Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa and Nigeria is playing crucial roles in Africa and in the international arena.
“Nigeria was the President of the General Assembly in 2019 and one of the very figures in the adoption of the 2023 Agenda is Amina Mohammed, another Nigerian”.
“Nigeria has continued to play a crucial role because Nigeria is standing firm in support of international law, standing firm in support of the Palestinian cause. Nigeria can also push forward for more implementation of the international resolution”.
“I will communicate with different levels of people of Nigeria to make sure that they support the move not only from the political level but other institutions such as human rights institutions and NGOs to make sure that they collaborate with their counterparts in Palestine”.