Sunday May 16, 2021
Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a session of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday that Israel’s crimes against humanity should not escape accountability and called for immediate steps to stop the ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people and their properties.
During a virtual session of the OIC Executive Committee, he raised four points, which are reflective of Pakistan's stance on the violence by Israel against Palestinians.
According to a statement by the Foreign Office, the foreign minister said that firstly, it is imperative that the international community protect the Palestinians against the blatant and illegal use of force and flagrant violations of human rights.
"It should urgently intervene and take concerted actions to stop Israeli atrocities against civilian population in Gaza. The bombardment in Gaza must be stopped immediately," read the statement.
Secondly, it is both critical and urgent that the resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council be implemented forthwith.
Thirdly, "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 and the other various human rights Conventions," said Qureshi.
The foreign minister also regretted attempts to create a "false equivalence" between Israel, the aggressor, and Palestinians, the victims.
He said such attempts are "inexcusable" and as the collective voice of the Muslim Ummah the OIC "should work in unity to dispel this deliberately deceptive perception".
"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," he added.
The foreign minister reminded the forum that OIC "owes its genesis to the Palestinian issue".
"In this hour of need, the Muslim Ummah must exhibit strong solidarity and support for their Palestinian brothers and sisters," he said.
He assured Pakistan stands steadfast and ready as a member of the Executive Committee and the next Chair of the Council of Foreign Ministers, "to join hands with other OIC Member States in any move to stop the ongoing bloodshed, and restore human dignity and human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories".
Qureshi said Pakistan is appalled by the sheer magnitude of illegal, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force, tyranny and injustice being perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces against defenseless Palestinians.
"There are no words strong enough to condemn the systematic and barbaric crimes against the Palestinians. The deteriorating conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories due to the illegal practices of Israel, its colonial policies, and its continued aggression, siege and collective punishment, are sickening," he said.
He highlighted that the indiscriminate use of force by Israeli forces against defenseless Palestinians is "tantamount to grave violations of principles underpinned in international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law".
"In the wake of the deteriorating conditions for the people of Palestine, my Prime Minister Imran Khan has spoken with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, and the President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas.
"I have also been in touch with my key regional counterparts, including brother Riyad Al-Maliki," Qureshi said.
The foreign minister said the "latest spate of Israeli aggression cannot be justified or condoned".
Pakistan condemns in the strongest possible terms the continuing air strikes by Israel in Gaza that have resulted in deaths and injuries to so many innocent Palestinians, he said.
Pakistan also condemns, in the strongest possible terms, attacks on innocent worshippers in Al-Aqsa Mosque, violating the very sanctity of Qibla-e-Awal, he added.
Qureshi stressed that death and destruction in the holy month of Ramzan; during Eid-ul-Fitr is unacceptable. "Endless, senseless violence must end," he said.
He also communicated Pakistan's grave concern at the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and expulsion of Palestinians from their properties.
"The tragedy of forced evictions of Palestinians from the Shaikh Jarrah neighborhood of Al-Quds Al-Shareef is the latest manifestation of the systematic Israeli effort to change the demographic structure; historical and legal status; and Arab-Islamic and Christian character of Al-Quds Al-Shareef. This is patently illegal, immoral and unacceptable," he said.
"At this somber juncture, we reaffirm our unflinching solidarity with the government and people of Palestine – valiantly defending their legitimate rights. We salute their courage in the face of unabated Israeli atrocities and preserving their Arab and Islamic identity," he said.
Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s abiding support for the Palestinian people in their just struggle to secure legitimate rights, particularly their inalienable right to self-determination.
"I also reiterate Pakistan’s support for a two-state solution in accordance with the relevant United Nations and OIC resolutions, with the pre-1967 borders, and Al-Quds Al-Shareef as the capital of a viable, independent and contiguous Palestinian State," he said.
The foreign minister said that in the absence of such a solution, "any notion of human dignity would remain tainted, regional peace elusive, and international security imperiled".
"We must not fail the Palestinian people at this critical juncture," he stressed.