“His Royal Highness, Prince Saud Al-Faisal,
His Excellency, the Secretary General of OIC,
In the last one month, the international community helplessly witnessed brutal carnage of innocent and unarmed Palestinians by Israel’s defense forces, armed with the latest and sophisticated weaponry. While Israel brazenly called it a war to defend its national security, the world considered Israel’s actions crimes against humanity. Pakistan’s Prime Minister Mr. Nawaz Sharif led Pakistan’s strong condemnation of Israel’s aggression against Palestinians and termed it as genocide.
Israel’s assault on unarmed Palestinian children and women was deliberate. And so assured was Israel of the lack of any consequence, that it pursued its massacre unflinchingly. Israel’s disdain for international human rights and humanitarian law should be a matter of grave concern for the international community.
Up till now more than 1800 Palestinians, including more than 400 children and 200 women were sacrificed at the altar of political expediency that prevented global community from taking stern action against evident, gross and continued violations of international law by Israel.
Pakistan condemned, in the strongest terms, the atrocities committed by Israel in Gaza as well as its attacks against the UN premises. This condemnation was shared by the OIC Group as well as by the Non-Aligned Movement. The joint statements of OIC and NAM continued to call upon the UN Security Council to stop Israel from killing innocent civilians but to no avail.
During the one-month saga, the powerlessness of the UN Security Council, and the inaction of the United Nations as a whole, to prevent the bloodshed of Palestinians is regrettable. No doubt, the Security Council, being the premier international body for maintaining international peace and security, bears the burden of this failure to take effective and timely action. Even those who understand the political dynamics of the conflict, and the continued inaction by the UN Security Council, cannot condone or explain this major humanitarian crisis. The Security Council should have intervened to ensure a quick ceasefire to prevent the loss of precious and innocent lives. Instead it chose to release an ineffective Presidential statement and elements to the press. Here, we must say that the States that prevented action by the United Nations bear major responsibility of the continued loss of innocent Palestinian lives.
The commendable efforts of the OIC Group in the Human Rights Council in Geneva resulted in convening of a Special Session of the Human Rights Council to discuss the grave situation in Gaza. Pakistan, as the Coordinator for the OIC Group in Geneva, played a key role in this regard. The Special Session adopted an important resolution (HRC Resolution S-21/1) that decided to dispatch an international commission of inquiry to investigate all violations of international human rights and humanitarian law and requested for reconvening a Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention. These decisions must be implemented expeditiously.
Israel has used excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force. Its persistent and deliberate attacks on UN premises were clear and unambiguous violations of international law. It cast aside the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution in its conduct of war. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that these principles must be respected in military actions. Any attack violating these principles may amount to war crimes.
Throughout the history of Palestinian conflict in the Middle East, we have witnessed numerous ceasefires and their subsequent breakdowns. Each time the ceasefire presented an opportunity to build peace, the international community failed to capitalize. It is time that the international community realizes that there can be no enduring peace in the region sans a two-state solution. An independent, viable and geographically contiguous Palestinian State, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, living side by side with Israel, is the only way to guarantee peace and stability in the region.
The present efforts for ceasefire in Gaza are fragile. These can, however, provide a window of opportunity to act. Pakistan, therefore, calls on the international community to:
· Consolidate an enduring ceasefire;
· Make efforts towards ending the blockade of Gaza thus providing much needed reprieve to the Palestinians;
· Affect release of more than 1000 Palestinian, imprisoned by Israel since June 2014;
· Assist UNRWA in its humanitarian efforts to help the Palestinians. With hundreds of thousands displaced and some 273,000 living in shelters, their needs cannot be ignored;
·Revive the peace process, as absence of peace talks imperils the fragile nature of the ceasefire; and
·Call for renewed efforts by the Quartet for engagement, conflict resolution and lasting peace.
Pakistan is making a modest contribution of US$ 1 Million for food and medicines. We call upon the international community to contribute generously.
On its part, the OIC should take the following actions:
· Arab Heads of States and Heads of Governments should lead the resumption of Peace process, the sustenance of which should not be left solely with the Palestine and Israel;
· Promote unity and strengthen solidarity among OIC member states, thereby making it difficult for the international community to ignore its calls and resolutions;
· The member states, individually and collectively, should intensify efforts at various regional and international forums to support realization of the inalienable right of the Palestinian people, notably their right to self-determination, and the establishment of an independent state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
· Ensure that the resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council ((HRC Resolution S-21/1) is implemented in letter and spirit;
· Islamic countries, the Islamic Development Bank and private individuals should raise funds for rehabilitation of displaced Palestinians, reconstruction of Gaza and humanitarian relief work.
·To proceed in a coordinated manner, the OIC should work towards an action plan in the period leading up to the next session of the ICFM, for endorsement by the Foreign Ministers of the OIC member states.
I thank you, Mr. Chairman.”
Last modified: November 21, 2019
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