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Israel/Hamas war; Senate calls on FG UN to press for ceasefire to save lives of women, children

By Haruna Salami

The Senate has called on the Federal Government and the United Nations (UN) to take necessary steps to secure ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Hamas to save lives of innocent women, children and humanity in general.

This followed the adoption of a motion on “Urgent need to call for ceasefire on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas/Palestine” moved by Senator Suleiman Kawu Sumaila (NNPP Kano South) and 28 others at plenary on Tuesday.

The Senate also called on the UN to adopt a two-state approach as a permanent solution the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Senator Kawu noted that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a complex and long-standing conflict that has been ongoing for over 100 years”, adding “the battle is rooted in competing claims to the land of Israel and Palestine and has been marked by violence, displacement, and suffering on both sides”.

He traced the history of the conflict to the early 1900s, as Jewish immigrants from Europe began to settle in Palestine and later in 1948, when the UN voted to partition Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab.

According to him, the Jewish community accepted the plan, but the Arab community rejected it, leading to the “outbreak of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which resulted in the defeat of the Arab armies and the establishment of the State of Israel”.

The Senate was worried that “the conflict has since been marked by a series of wars, uprisings, and negotiations; one of the most significant events in the battle was the Six-Day War in 1967, in which Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria”.

“The upper chamber said in recent years, there has been a renewed effort to negotiate a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, but regretted that these talks have so far failed to produce a lasting agreement.

The motion highlighted that in the current conflict from October 2023 to date, Israeli air attacks and shelling aimed at houses and apartment buildings have displaced some 123,538 Palestinians in Gaza, according to the UN humanitarian relief agency.

“Latest media reports, citing the Gaza Ministry of Health, indicate that the number of people killed in Gaza since October 7 has risen to over 8000. Women, children and members of the press have made up more than 62 per cent of the fatalities, while more than 15,273 people have been injured.

Since the recent conflict started in October 7, 2023 when Hamas attacked Israeli soft targets killing about 1,400 people, the Senate said the following are the estimated number of infrastructure destroyed:

“The UNs’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Thursday that 11 mosques have been demolished by Israeli air strikes, while an additional seven churches and mosques have sustained damage. Some affected mosques were in Gaza City, Khan Younis, Beit Lahia and Yarmouk. Several of the damaged churches were ancient, according to Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.

“The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that 22,600 units have been destroyed. About 2,835 units have been damaged, almost 1,791 have become uninhabitable due to severe damage, and 12,630 have sustained lesser damage, according to United Nations briefings on October 11 and October 12.

“A World Health Organization Report on Thursday said 19 health facilities had been damaged. On Wednesday, OCHA reported that all 13 hospitals and other medical centres were only partially operational due to shortages of supplies and fuel”.

Others are: “Beit Hanoon Hospital and al-Oyun Hospital in Tal al-Hawa were completely out of service due to the bombardment; 20 ambulances have been damaged; at least 90 educational facilities have been damaged, according to OCHA; twenty of these were UNRWA installations, two of which were also used as emergency shelters.

“Relief Web reported that at least 70 industrial facilities had been destroyed. Most sewage pumping stations and four out of five wastewater treatment plants have stopped operating, causing sewage and solid waste to accumulate in the streets and become a health hazard, according to OCHA.

“According to Euro-Med, 49 media and press offices have been destroyed. This includes a local independent newspaper, Al-Ayyam, based in Palestine Tower in Gaza, which was destroyed in an Israeli attack, according to Reporters Without Borders”.