At an emergency meeting of the United Nations General Assembly called to discuss the situation in Palestine, Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, in his thorough speech highlighting Israeli atrocities against innocent, unarmed Palestinians, demanded the deployment of an international protection force in occupied Palestinian territories.
“The General Assembly should call for concrete steps to protect the Palestinians. We should deploy an international protection force as was called for in the General Assembly resolution ES-10/20 and as demanded by the Islamic summit conference on May 18, 2018,” he said.
While providing alternative ways to protect civilians in Palestine, Foreign Minister Qureshi recommended a coalition of the willing states can be formed to provide at least civilian observers to monitor a cessation of hostilities and supervise the provision of humanitarian help to the Palestinians.
He reminded the world leaders of their responsibility saying, “There are times in history when decisions of nations are remembered by posterity. This is one such moment. What we do today or cannot do will be recorded in history.”
The FM described catastrophic scenes currently unfolding in the Palestinian territories and invited world’s attention to the “relentless onslaught on the occupied and beleaguered people of Palestine.”
As we speak, children, women and men in Palestine are been killed with impunity, FM Qureshi said.
Gaza is plunged in darkness, literally and metaphorically. The only light is that of the Israeli explosions, the foreign minister said while highlighting the limited access to water, food, hygiene and health services in occupied Palestinian territories. “Hospitals and access to water, sanitation services depend on electricity. Fuel for the power plants has almost run out,” he added.
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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi offered five recommendations to the General Assembly to help ease the suffering of the Palestinians struggling for their basic human rights and freedom.
First, he emphasized on halting the Israeli aggression. “I hope that, even at this 11th hour, the Security Council will call for a cessation of Israeli attacks,” the FM said, while providing an alternative that “If it (Security Council) fails to do so, the General Assembly must make this demand on behalf of the entire international community.”
Foreign Minister Qureshi in an effort to clearly distinguish the oppressor (Israel) and the oppressed (Palestinians) said that there is no moral or military equivalence between the beleaguered and occupied Palestinian people who have no army, no navy, no air force – and the Israeli war machine, one of the most powerful in the world. It’s a conflict between illegal occupation and a legitimate struggle for self determination, he said.
In this context, the foreign minister made a reference to the General Assembly resolution 2649 of November 1970, which affirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples under colonial and alien domination recognized as being entitled to the right to self-determination to restore to themselves that right by any means at their disposal.
Second, the FM Qureshi called on the General Assembly to mobilize all possible humanitarian help and assistance for the devastated Palestinian population in Gaza and other parts of the occupied territories.
“The Secretary General should launch a comprehensive humanitarian assistance plan to provide sucker and sustenance to the Palestinians,” he said.
Third, the Foreign Minister urged the General Assembly to adopt concrete steps to protect the Palestinians and called on the Secretary General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to offer protection to Israel’s Arab citizens who are being “lynched and murdered by fascists Israeli gangs at the present time.”
The General Assembly should condemn Israel’s forcible and illegal eviction of Palestinians including in Al Jarah district of Jerusalem and continued construction of Jewish settlements, FM Qureshi said in his fourth recommendation.
UN General Assembly should also denounce the onslaught against Palestinian worshippers in Haram al-Sharif and Al-Aqsa mosque, the first Qiblah of Islam during the month of Ramadan and Israel’s brutal and indiscriminate aerial and land bombardment of Gaza, he added.
“Israel’s crimes against humanity should not escape accountability,” the FM pleaded.
While calling on other international bodies that explore and take action against human rights violations, Foreign Minister Qureshi said, “The Human Rights Council, the ICC, the ICJ and other avenues should be activated to ensure Israel’s accountability for its war crimes.”
Labelling Israel an apartheid-like regime, the Foreign Minister appealed to the international community that “we must revive concrete efforts to end Israel occupation of the Palestinian territories and to dismantle the illegal settlements that the apartheid-like Israel has imposed in the occupied territories.”
“Mr President, the Palestinian tragedy is at the heart of the turmoil and the conflicts in the Middle East. It’s also the principal root cause of the humiliation and anger in the Muslim and Arab world. Anger which breathes extremism and often spawns acts of violence. A just solution for Palestine is imperative for the maintenance of regional and global peace and security. Clearly, the onus for restoring peace rests on Israel. Israel must end its occupation. It must implement the resolutions of the SC and the GA. This GA session must send a clear message to the Palestinian people and to Israel. It’s only through determined and decisive action that this assembly can restore the credibility of the UN and demonstrate its effective role in preserving world peace and global order based on equity and justice,” the Foreign Minister concluded.
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OIC’s emergency session
Previously, during an emergency session of Organization of Islamic Cooperation called to discuss the crisis brewing in the Middle East, Pakistan proposed four necessary steps for stopping the ongoing aggression against Palestinian people and their properties by Israeli security forces.
The foreign minister called for immediate action on part of the international community to protect the Palestinians by urgently intervening and taking concerted efforts to stop Israeli atrocities against civilian population in Gaza. “The bombardment in Gaza must be stopped immediately,” he emphasized.
Need for implementing forthwith United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC), United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), and United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolutions was also stressed by Pakistan’s foreign minister as he proposed immediate action by international community to hold Israel accountable for its inhumane actions against innocent Palestinians.
“Israel’s crimes against humanity should not escape accountability. There should be no impunity for Israel’s violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and the various human rights treaties,” FM Qureshi said.
In his fourth point, the foreign minister called the attention of the Muslim Ummah towards the evil attempts by some actors to “create a false equivalence between Israel, the aggressor, and Palestinians, the victims” and said that the OIC should work in unity to dispel such a “deliberately deceptive perception.”
While referring to Saturday’s appalling airstrikes by Israel on the offices of media houses, he said, “Attempts to silence media and reporting, through tyranny, evident from Israel’s horrifying air strike yesterday, bringing down a high rise building in Gaza that housed media outlets is unacceptable.”
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Pakistan’s rigorous diplomacy
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, has pursued strong diplomatic efforts towards highlighting the plight of Palestinians in the wake of fresh Israeli barbarism.
In the span of a few days, Qureshi has spoken to foreign ministers of China, Egypt, Turkey, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, and Afghanistan stressing the need for collective efforts towards easing the plight of Palestinians and holding Israel accountable for its illegitimate and inhumane actions.
The country’s leadership has upheld the defining principle of Pakistan’s foreign policy since Pakistan’s inception which is “support for the Palestinian cause”. Prime Minster Imran Khan has also spoken with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Turkish President Rajab Tayyip Erdogan, and the President of Palestine Mahmood Abbas, in this regard.
Earlier Prime Minister Khan said in a tweet: “Strongly condemn Israeli Forces’ attack especially during Ramazan on Palestinians in Qibla-e-Awaal, Al-Aqsa Mosque, violating all norms of humanity and international law. We reiterate support for Palestinian people. International community must take immediate action to protect Palestinians and their legitimate rights.”
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This was followed by his call for the need to show solidarity with the Kashmiris and Palestinians who are suffering oppression by Occupation Powers in complete violation of their international guaranteed basic human rights as he conveyed Eid greetings to the Muslim Ummah.