By: TRT Afrika
NAIROBI—Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga has said Palestine has a “right to exist” as Israel’s siege on Gaza continues unabated.
On Sunday, Odinga said that a long-lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict would only be found if Palestine’s statehood is “recognised by all civilised people.”
Speaking at a church function in Kajiado, a county that neighbours Kenya’s capital Nairobi to the south, Odinga said: “Peace cannot return until Palestinians are granted justice (in the cyclic Israel-Palestine conflict).”
Odinga added that Palestinians should be granted “permanent residence and recognition of their right to exist as free and independent people. That is what is not being said.”
Odinga, who served as Kenya’s prime minister between 2008 and 2013, said the conflict has escalated because “people are mixing up issues and taking sides.”
“You see a president going there, taking a stand and condemning the other side, when bombs are being dropped; schools, hospitals and patients are being bombed,” he said.
“These are issues that need to be acknowledged, and must be condemned by all civilised people,” Odinga added.
His remarks come as the death toll in Gaza caused by Israeli airstrikes crossed the 4,600 mark on Sunday, bringing the total number of fatalities from both sides to at least 6,000 since the conflict escalated on October 7.
Kenyan President William Ruto had earlier urged restraint, though referred to Hamas fighters using a term that was faulted by online users.
The East African nation has witnessed several pro-Palestine marches, including in Nairobi and the coastal city of Mombasa.
Several world leaders and global agencies, including the United Nations and the African Union, have called for a two-state solution to end the cyclic row between Israelis and Palestinians.
“Only a negotiated peace that fulfills the legitimate national aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis, together with their security alike – the long-held vision of a two-state solution, in line with United Nations resolutions, international law and previous agreements – can bring long-term stability to the people of this land and the wider Middle East region,” UN chief Antonio Guterres said on October 9.
He spoke during an extraordinary meeting of senior UN leaders to discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict.