If more Muslim-majority nations were as supportive of Palestinians as Bangladesh, they would have secured an independent state a long time ago, according to Palestinian Ambassador to Bangladesh Yousef SY Ramadan.
"If all the Muslim and Arab worlds did what the Bangladeshis did, we would have had our state a long time ago,” the Palestinian envoy said in an interview with bdnews24.com’s ‘Inside Out’.
The full interview with Ambassador Ramadan is available on bdnews24.com’s Facebook account and YouTube channel.
The latest escalation in the decades-long conflict started on Oct 7, when Palestinian group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, attacked Israel. About 1,200 people were killed in the attack and the attackers took over 200 hostages back to Gaza.
Israel retaliated with air strikes and a ground assault that has killed over 11,000 Palestinians in Gaza over a five-week period, according to health officials.
The UN and many nations have called for a ceasefire.
Speaking on Israel’s attack on Gaza, the Palestinian ambassador said, “The current situation can be minimised in one word - the people in Palestine in general, and in Gaza in particular, they are living in hell. It’s exactly hell. It’s a situation which words cannot describe at all.”
“Imagine a family every night. They hug each other. And they say goodbye to each other before they sleep. The father, the mother and the children -- they don’t know if they’re going to wake up or not. This is the majority of Gaza Strip people, the 2.4 million people who are doing that on a daily basis. The lucky ones, they wake up safe. The unlucky ones, they wake up, they have either lost part of the family or all of the family.”
It is essential for a ceasefire to be agreed upon as soon as possible, he said.
“The most urgent thing is to stop the killing, stop the genocide. That is the most important thing. The second, equally important, is to allow the food, to allow medicine, to allow drinking water, to allow the fuel to the people inside Gaza - the essential things that the people need for their daily life.”
Ramadan said he had heard that ceasefire negotiations were ongoing in Doha indirectly and temporary ceasefires could be agreed upon for the release of certain civilian hostages.
Asked about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s remarks rejecting a possible ceasefire until all hostages were released, the envoy said, “This is out of the arrogance that he has. Benjamin Netanyahu wanted just one thing, he wanted to save his skin. Because what happened on Oct 7, destroyed completely the future, the political future of Benjamin Netanyahu and his government.”
“They did not provide security for the people, for their people. So they have to go, that's a definite. And we can see that today, the majority of the Israeli society doesn't want Benjamin Netanyahu to run the country. So, Benjamin Netanyahu tried to make it up to the people by killing as many as possible, destroying as much as possible in the Gaza Strip, and trying to come back to the people of Israel and say, ‘Here, I brought you security and stability, and no one ever did that before’. So, I believe that he will fail, I'm 100 percent sure that he will fail.”
The ambassador said the US had a moral obligation to back a ceasefire.
As the war stretched into its fifth week on Saturday, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries for an immediate end to military operations in Gaza, rejecting Israel's justification of its actions against Palestinians as self-defence.
A joint Islamic-Arab summit in Riyadh also urged the International Criminal Court to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in the Palestinian territories.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and dozens of leaders including Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attended the summit.
However, the Arab League and the OIC, the 57-member bloc that includes Iran, had difficulty reaching consensus on a final statement.
Diplomats told the media that some countries, like Algeria and Lebanon, were in favour of
disrupting oil supplies to Israel and severing economic and diplomatic ties. However, several other countries, including those who had recently improved ties with with Israel, rejected the proposal.
'BANGLADESH HAS BEEN HONOURABLE TO THE PEOPLE OF PALESTINE'
As a man who had lived in exile from his homeland for 22 years, Ramadan expressed his deep gratitude to the people of Bangladesh.
“The people of Bangladesh have shown me something that I haven't seen. Can you imagine a person coming from his home or his village? Maybe he travelled five or six or seven hours? And I don't know which means he used in his transport, to come to the embassy to express his solidarity. And to donate Tk 500 or Tk 1,000? Do you know what it means to me?”
“This means that I am not alone in this. In this misery that I'm living in. Someone is helping me 4,000 miles away from my home. I cannot compare this with anything else, with any favour that is being done to the Palestinian people. I will always carry to the grave with me that the people of Bangladesh have been extremely honourable, noble and heroic, to the people of Palestine,” Ramadan said.
This sense of solidarity is due to the connection between the current experience of the Palestinian people and the struggles of the Bangladeshis during the Liberation War, he said.
“I think every Bangladeshi should feel proud that he is Bangladeshi.”
“Because you went through this misery in your life, or your father’s life or your grandfather’s life. And you understand the meaning of it. And you don't accept that other nations will face this same suffering. That's why you defend us and that's why you stay with us. It didn't come in a vacuum. It is deeply rooted in the heart and soul of the people.”
Ramadan praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her outspoken support of Palestine during the recent OIC conference in Jeddah.
“She spoke clearly, wisely and bravely about the issue of Palestine. And she demanded the Muslim countries, the OIC, that they stand united behind the Palestinian people. If all of them say the same thing, all the 57 leaders speak the same language, then you have no problem. If they speak the same language of what Sheikh Hasina said, I think the problem is solved.”