A resolution urging an instant ceasefire in the embattled Gaza Strip was presented to the UN Security Council last Friday, 8th December. Regrettably, the United States, a staunch ally of Israel, exercised its veto power, leading to the rejection of the proposal. Consequently, the resolution failed to gain approval.
Taking initiative under Article 99 of the UN Charter, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres compelled the Security Council to bring the proposal to the table for deliberation. In a contrasting stance, Bangladesh has taken a position in support of Palestine and Gaza within the proposed ceasefire.
Bangladesh Calls for Immediate Ceasefire
In a resolute stance on the ongoing conflict in Palestine, Bangladesh has unequivocally demanded an immediate end to the Israeli onslaught. The South Asian nation joins the international community in expressing deep concern over the escalating violence in the region, which has resulted in the loss of innocent lives and widespread suffering.
The Bangladeshi government, in a formal statement, condemned the disproportionate use of force by Israeli forces and called for an urgent ceasefire to prevent further human tragedy. Bangladesh stresses the need for a diplomatic resolution to the longstanding Israel-Palestine conflict, emphasizing the importance of adhering to international law and respecting the rights of civilians.
Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Shekh Hasina, expressed the nation’s solidarity with the people of Palestine, stating, “The ongoing violence in Palestine is deeply distressing, and Bangladesh urges all parties involved to exercise restraint and prioritize dialogue over hostility. The loss of innocent lives is tragic and unacceptable.” The situation in the region remains tense, and the international community is closely monitoring developments.
Bangladesh Sends Aid to Palestine
On October 23, 2023, Bangladesh handed over the first installment of humanitarian assistance consignments for the war affected people of Gaza Strip. The consignments included dry food items, emergency medical items, and sanitary items for women and children.
Present Gaza Situation
At present Gaza is facing distressing situation in the name of war. As per as reports from various international media, Palestinians are facing worsen abuses, ‘unprecedented humanitarian disaster’, and other issues.
Till recent times, at least 17,700 Palestinians have been killed and at least 48,780 have been injured. The situation worsens as 21 hospitals there have shut down their healthcare services. Nearly 100,000 buildings (50% of the housing units) have been damaged in Gaza in recent time including 104 masques been razed. Additionally, more than 100 heritage sites have been damaged or destroyed by the Israeli attacks.
The UN have reported that almost 1.8 million people are internally displaced in Gaza.
Hamas launched a surprise attack on October 7 after entering Israel. In response to that attack, Israel is carrying out continuous attacks on Gaza till now. In Gaza, which has been hit by continuous attacks, there are shortages of food, water, medicine and fuel.
In this situation, the first phase of the ceasefire started on November 24, in exchange for the release of hostages in Gaza and the release of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel and sending humanitarian aid to Gaza.
After this ceasefire lasted for seven days. In these seven days, Hamas released 110 people and Israel released 240 people. Despite the efforts of various international circles, the ceasefire period was not extended in the end.
History of Bangladesh-Palestine relationship
The relationship between Bangladesh and Palestine, particularly with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), traces back to the fight for liberation in 1971. Initially, recognition of newly-established Bangladesh was hesitant, but in 1973, relations warmed as Bangladesh supported Palestinians in the October War, providing medical assistance and relief supplies. This laid the foundation for one of the most brotherly and cordial relationships, marked by Bangladesh’s advocacy for an independent Palestinian state and opposition to Israeli occupation.
Bangladesh, refraining from any form of trade with Israel due to the absence of diplomatic relations, is among the 137 countries recognizing Palestine since its declaration of independence in 1988. High-level meetings, including one in 1974 between Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and Yassir Arafat, and subsequent visits, strengthened ties.
Bangladesh also allowed a PLO office in Dhaka, fostering frequent interactions between PLO officials and Bangladeshi political and diplomatic circles. The deep affinity is evident in a 1980 postal stamp depicting a Palestinian freedom fighter and the al-Aqsa mosque, honoring them as “Valiant” in English and Arabic. In 1987, after Yassir Arafat’s visit, 8,000 Bangladeshi youths volunteered to fight for the PLO, reflecting the strong societal connection.
Since the 1980s, military ties developed under IMET, with the PLO attending one-year courses at the Bangladesh Military Academy in Chittagong. The State of Palestine is represented in Bangladesh through its embassy in Dhaka, solidifying the enduring and multifaceted relationship between the two nations.
Bangladesh and Palestine share a deep history of solidarity rooted in their common struggles for self-determination, sovereignty, and human rights. Originating from Bangladesh’s post-independence period in 1971, the nation’s fight for liberation mirrored the Palestinian narrative of dispossession and resistance. Both countries quests for justice and equality led to Bangladesh becoming a staunch advocate for oppressed people globally, particularly Palestinians.
Bangladesh consistently expresses solidarity with Palestine on international platforms, condemning the Israeli occupation and advocating for a just resolution based on international law. Beyond symbolic gestures, Bangladesh actively supports Palestine through humanitarian aid and diplomatic initiatives, emphasizing its commitment to alleviating the Palestinian people’s suffering.
The historical and cultural ties between the two nations extend to people-to-people connections, with civil society organizations, academic institutions, and grassroots movements fostering understanding of each other’s struggles. This shared history of solidarity between Bangladesh and Palestine stands as a powerful example of diverse communities uniting for justice, freedom, and the right to self-determination. It highlights how mutual support can transcend borders, emphasizing the interconnectedness of global aspirations for a more equitable world.
In the face of present challenges, the shared history of solidarity between Bangladesh and Palestine stands as a beacon of hope, illustrating how collective efforts can transcend borders, fostering a world where justice, freedom, and the right to self-determination prevail.