Islamabad, November 10, 2017 (PPI-OT): Pakistan told the UN in clear terms that there can be no peace in the Middle East without a resolution of the Palestine issue, says a press release received here today from New York. Speaking in the UN Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian Arabs, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said that a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine on the basis of the internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, was the only sustainable guarantee for enduring peace in the Middle East.
“A just peace in Palestine is not only a matter of regional significance; it is the primary condition for global peace and security. A two-state ‘solution’ remains an absolute imperative as there is no ‘Plan B’ for the region” she asserted. Ambassador Lodhi condemned the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied territories. Yet, she said, in blatant disregard of international law and the collective will of the international community, including Security Council Resolution, Israel has stepped-up settlement-related activities in the occupied lands. “This is a tragic setback to peace, and a retreat from a two-state ‘solution’ to a one-state ‘illusion’, she added.
Warning the international community of the danger posed by unilateral Israeli attempts to alter the existing status quo in the old city of Jerusalem, the Pakistani envoy referred to tensions surrounding the holy Al Aqsa mosque in July this year and said they were yet another reminder of the ever-present danger to peace in the region.
“Such actions are an unacceptable provocation for every conscientious human being, and must be brought to an end. Creating alternate ‘facts on the ground’ cannot change historic realities or abjure legal rights of people living under foreign occupation, in Palestine, or indeed, elsewhere”, she remarked. “A long-term solution would also require the withdrawal of occupation forces from all Arab lands, including the Syrian Golan Heights”, she added. Last week, she said, marked the centennial of the infamous Balfour Declaration, the first ‘act’ in the tragedy of Palestine that has seen entire generations of Palestinians, dispossessed and displaced from their homes, and even deprived of their fundamental ‘right of return’ to their own land.
Ambassador Lodhi also highlighted the human rights violations by Israeli forces in the region saying that the situation in the occupied land attests to a systematic pattern of human rights violations that impacts every aspect of Palestinian life. “Arbitrary administrative detentions, including of children, demolition of homes, revocation of land rights and other measures of collective punishment, have become grim, daily facts of life – and suffering – for the Palestinian people”, she added.
Calling for an end to the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestine, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said that countless resolutions of the Security Council and the General Assembly have demanded the same, adding, “Yet, this collective voice of the international community has failed to tip the scales of justice in favor of the long-suffering Palestinians. This travesty must end”.
Pakistan welcomed the political reconciliation forged between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo last month that offers fresh reason for hope and optimism. Ambassador Lodhi expressed hope that this would lead to real progress as it not only restores political unity within Palestinian ranks, but also provides renewed strength and vigor to the legitimate cause of the Palestinian people. The Pakistani envoy appreciated the contributions ofUnited Nations Relief and Works Agency, (UNRWA) towards supporting the basic needs of the Palestinian communities and said that it has also served as a vehicle for political stability and social cohesion in its areas of operation.
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