Malawi Palestine Solidarity Movement joins the world in holding vigil over Palestinian-Israeli conflict

* They included university and young primary and secondary school students

* As well as young Nyasa Big Bullets supporters, who are know ‘Mapalestina’ due to their resilience and strength

By Duncan Mlanjira

An incredible over 80 participants graced Malawi Palestine Solidarity Movement’s vigil that was held at Malawi Sun Hotel in Blantyre over the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that continues to claim many innocent lives.

Advertisement

They included university and young primary and secondary school students as well as young Nyasa Big Bullets supporters, who are know ‘Mapalestina’ due to their resilience and strength.

A report from the Movement’s leadership says the event was opened with a prayer by Pastor Arthur Chisale followed immediately by attendance introductions and MPSM programs and activities by the National Coordinator, Asaboni Phiri.

A short video, “A Brief History of the Palestinians Israeli Conflict (link https://youtu.be/R0ftmf_Uv9A?si=AkzimrN9kByWwOXi) was then screened followed by a presentation by Dr. Nandini Patel on the same.

Thereafter, there was a short poem entitled ‘Palestinian Echos’, recited by Sr Tacreema Chikwatu as a prelude to the main session of the event followed by a plenary session where the whole audience were invited to  comment, discuss and deliberate — facilitated by veteran journalist, Tailos Bakili.

“What came through quite clearly from this is the knowledge and information gap on this topic as many were under the misconception that it is a religious conflict with Islamist terrorists attacking the Jewish population that is rightfully there,” said the report.

“This event was an eye-opener as it was highly educational and informative for all including members of the MPSM.”

Advertisement

The gathering also came up with possible way forward for MPSM, which include increase organisation of such events towards a better informed public; public gatherings as well at universities and schools and engagement with Malawi media houses to give them an accurate and true picture of what is happening on the ground rather than the distorted and biased newsfeeds they are getting from various international news sources.

MPSM is also to engage with Members of Parliament (MPs) and other decision makers towards an informed position especially in regard to the Malawi-Israel diplomatic relationship.

And to invest in a robust and strong social media strategy to maximise the reach on this important topic as well as to keep the discussion alive on the Israel-Palestine conflict rather than only when there is a problem.

Advertisement

In 2020, Malawi announced plans to open a full embassy to Israel in Jerusalem, which was going to be the first African nation to do so in the contested city.

A report by Middle East Monitor, quoted former Foreign Affairs Minister Eisenhower Mkaka as describing the decision as a “bold and significant step”.

Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, although that is not recognised by most countries. Palestinians seek the city’s east, which Israel captured in a 1967 war, as the capital of a future state.

Given the city’s disputed status and sensitivity in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, most countries that have embassies in Israel have opened them in its commercial capital of Tel Aviv, said the report by Middle East Monitor in 2021.

Death toll in Gaza has risen to more than 7,000 people, including nearly 3,000 children

Meanwhile, today’s report by Al Jazeera quotes Palestinian officials as saying the death toll in Gaza has risen to more than 7,000 people, including nearly 3,000 children after the Israeli army conducted an overnight ground raid inside Gaza targeting Hamas positions using tanks.

Al Jazeera condemns Israel’s “indiscriminate assault” on Gaza after family members of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief Wael Dahdouh were killed in an air raid while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls the Israeli attacks on Gaza “barbaric”.

President Erdogan maintains that the Israeli attacks on Gaza have long crossed the threshold of self-defence and turned into open “oppression, brutality, a massacre and barbarism”.

He added Western countries are not adhering to international law because the blood spilled in Gaza is the “blood of Muslims”.

Advertisement

This was after the Israeli army shot dead a 17-year-old Palestinian while injuring another minor in the occupied West Bank, as according to the health ministry.

Usayed Hamdi Hmeidat was shot in the head and chest during an Israeli army raid in the Jalazone refugee camp, north of Ramallah.

A 14-year-old boy, whose name was not released by the ministry, was shot in the thigh during the same raid, medical sources said. They were rushed to a hospital in Ramallah where Hmeidat was pronounced dead.

Hmeidat’s killing raises the Palestinian death toll in the occupied West Bank to 104 since October 7.

At least 7,028 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, while more than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel since October 7.

Advertisement

Child casualties in Gaza a ‘stain on our conscience’—UNICEF

UNICEF has described the “staggering” number of children casualties in Gaza as a stain on its conscience, saying: “The situation in the Gaza Strip is a growing stain on our collective conscience.

“The rate of death and injuries of children simply staggering,” Adele Khodr, UNICEF regional director for the Middle East & North Africa is quouted as saying.

“Even more frightening is the fact that unless tensions are eased, and unless humanitarian aid is allowed, including food, water, medical supplies and fuel, the daily death toll will continue to rise.”

Al Jazeera chronicles that around 45% of housing units have been completely and partially destroyed with 219 educational facilities hit, including at least 29 UNRWA schools while an estimated 1.4 million people in Gaza are internally displaced.

Advertisement

A total of 101 health personnel killed by Israeli strikes, more than 100 wounded; 50 ambulances were attacked and half of those are out of service; 24 hospitals requested to evacuate in northern Gaza — as hospitals operated at more than 150% of their capacity.

At least 130 neonates dependent on incubators are now at a risk of death due to lack of electricity while approximately 166 unsafe births per day taking place in Gaza.

In football, fans of Scotland’s Celtic Football Club defied their club’s directives and waved thousands of Palestine flags during their team’s UEFA Champions League match against Atletico Madrid.

Hours before the match at Glasgow’s Celtic Park on Wednesday, the club issued a statement saying both sets of players and coaching staff would wear black armbands “as a show of respect and support for all those affected by the conflict” but told fans to refrain from displaying their support in the stands.

“We ask that banners, flags and symbols relating to the conflict and those countries involved in it are not displayed at Celtic Park at this time,” the club said in its statement.—Situation report by Al Jazeera

Advertisement