Minister for Islamic Affairs Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed has called for the immediate cessation of the seven-month attacks by Israel on the Palestinian people—attacks which have escalated ever-intensifying aggression against the Palestinians over the past 75 years—and to expedite the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian aid to the population stranded within Gaza. Saeed made the plea as the top representative of the Maldives while speaking at the 15th Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Islamic Summit in Gambia.

Speaking as President Mohamed Muizzu’s special envoy, Saeed called for an end to the war and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, reiterating the Maldives’ support for the case filed against Israel by South Africa on 19 February at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

“Everywhere you look, you see thousands of people gathering in support of Palestinians and calling for a ceasefire… We have to do more, we have to hold Israel accountable for its actions, we have to end the suffering of the Palestinian people, and we have to bring stability to a region that is experiencing such conflict, we have to end this war now,” Saeed said, adding that Israel would not succeed in defeating the courage of the Palestinian people.

Minister of Islamic Affairs Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed delivers his remarks at the 15th session of the Islamic Summit Conference in Banjul, Gambia, on Sunday, 5 May 2024. | Photo: X/@MVIaffairs

The Maldives would continue to advocate for Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations, Saeed said, outlining the Maldives’ belief that Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations would be the beginning of sustainable peace in the region.

In addition, the Islamic Ummah must also stand up in defence of the Muslims of Myanmar, he noted.

“Thousands have been killed, injured and displaced as a result of the ongoing horrific crimes, including recent airstrikes, and the government of Myanmar must take immediate steps to stop the ongoing crimes against the Rohingya people,” the minister implored.

More than 34,000 people, mostly children and women, have already been killed in Israeli attacks on Palestinians in Gaza.

“About 160 children are killed every day; that’s one every 10 minutes,” UN World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Christian Lindmeier had said earlier in November 2023.