ISLAMABAD: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Sunday held Israel responsible for violence in Palestinian territories and called on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to urgently take action to stop these attacks by the Israeli forces.

A resolution adopted at the end of a virtual open-ended extraordinary meeting of the OIC Executive Committee on Israeli aggression said it “underscores the responsibility of the Security Council to act swiftly to end the Israeli occupation’s barbaric attacks on the Palestinian people”.

The latest episode of Israeli violence began with Israeli police firing rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinian youth outside Al Aqsa mosque in which over 300 people were injured. The clashes were triggered by a court ruling which ordered seizing of homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood from their Arab occupants who had been owning the houses for the past over 50 years.

The situation later escalated and Israeli forces fired missiles and bombarded Gaza Strip. Palestinians, meanwhile, fired rockets in response at Israeli targets. Over 200 Palesti­nians have been killed and 5,600 wounded so far in Israeli attacks.

Warns of approaching UN General Assembly to assume its responsibility if council fails to stop aggression; FM Qureshi condemns air strikes in Gaza, attack on innocent worshippers

The UNSC, which is mandated by its charter to preserve international peace and security, was accused of suffering from “inertia” in its dealing with the Palestine issue. The OIC forum, therefore, asked the UNSC to “assume its responsibility towards the Palestinian people and to respond to the calls of states and peoples around the world” for stopping the aggression by Israel forces and implement its own resolutions.

The hitherto unimplemented UNSC resolutions on the Palestine issue were described as “the foundation and key to a just and lasting solution”.

The OIC warned that the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) could be approached to assume its responsibility in this case if the UNSC fails to act to stop the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians.

The UNGA, it was said, could be asked to resume “the proceedings of the Tenth Emergency Special Session to stop Israeli aggression in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including Al-Quds Al-Shareef, to ensure provision of international protection for the Palestinian people, to take measures to hold Israel, the occupying power, accountable for its crimes and gross violations of the rules of international law and human rights, and to blockade its colonial system”.

The OIC further called upon the world to hold Israel accountable for its actions and to end the impunity it has enjoyed thus far. The High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention were asked to compel Israel to fulfil its obligation as occupying authority, including ensuring protection for the Palestinian population.

Israel’s policy in East Jerusalem, specifically its actions in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, was condemned as a system of racial segregation.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, while speaking at the meeting, condemned the air strikes by Israel in Gaza and the attack on innocent worshippers in Al Aqsa mosque, violating the very sanctity of Qibla-i-Awal.

“Endless, senseless violence must end,” he stressed, adding that everything should be done to stop the violence against the Palestinians. In this regard, he proposed that the international community must protect the Palestinians by “urgently” intervening and taking actions to stop Israeli atrocities against civilian population in Gaza.

An immediate end to bombardment in Gaza was also emphasised. The need for implementing resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council on Palestine was emphasised as “critical and urgent”.

Mr Qureshi called for holding Israel accountable for its crimes against humanity and ending its impunity for violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva and other various human rights Conventions.

Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2021

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