UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan on Sunday strongly condemned Israel’s systematic assault against Palestinian worshippers in the Haram-al-Sharif and its continued policy of expansion of its illegal settlements.
In a rejoinder to the UN Security Council, Pakistan appreciated the council’s decision to hold a meeting to discuss the extremely grave situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Jerusalem, adding: “it is regrettable that the Council has been unable to even hold this meeting and to take action to halt Israeli aggression for so long.”
Pakistan condemned Israel’s use of indiscriminate and disproportionate force, including aerial bombing, resulting in the deaths of nearly 200 Palestinians, including dozens of women and children, as well as destruction of civilian infrastructure.
“We also strongly condemn: Israel’s deliberate and systematic assault against Palestinian worshippers in the Haram-al-Sharif, including the Al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan; its violation of the sanctity of these holy sites,” the statement said.
Pakistan noted that Israel was following a deliberate policy of expanding illegal settlements; forced evictions of Palestinians, and demolition of their homes. Targeting journalists and international media outlets in the occupied Palestinian territories was also a part of this policy, Pakistan said.
“These Israel’s actions are unacceptable; and are in contravention of the norms of international law. They violate UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions; and have grave implications for the maintenance of peace and security in the region and beyond,” Pakistan said.
Pakistan reminded UNSC members that the council’s resolution 242 (1967) declared the “inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war” and demanded that Israel withdraw its armed forces from territories occupied in the 1967 war. Numerous UNSC resolutions, including resolution 2334 (2016), have declared that the “establishment by Israel of settlements in Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of a two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”
Pakistan pointed out that UNSC resolutions 252, 267 and 271 of 1968 censured Israel in the strongest term for its illegal and unilateral measures taken to change the status of the city of Jerusalem. The Council called on Israel to rescind such measures and to refrain from such actions in future. It recognised “that any act of destruction or profanation of the Holy Places, religious buildings and sites in Jerusalem or any encouragement of, or connivance at, any such act may seriously endanger international peace and security”.
UN General Assembly resolution 2253 also declared Israeli measures to change the status of Jerusalem as invalid. Subsequently, UNSC resolution 478 and others on the status of Jerusalem reaffirmed this position.
Pakistan noted that Israel’s ongoing attacks against Palestinians also violate UNSC resolutions, including resolution 259 (1968), relating to the protection of civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Pakistan regretted that despite the daily loss of lives due to Israel’s aggressive actions, the Security Council had failed to demand that Israel halt its indiscriminate and disproportionate use of force against the defenseless and beleaguered Palestinian people in Jerusalem, in the occupied West Bank and in the besieged Gaza. Pakistan noted that such actions by the Council had been prevented by those who proclaim their strong adherence to the principles of human rights and the international rule of law.
Pakistan reminded the world body that in the ongoing Israeli onslaught against the Palestinians, the violations of human rights and of international legality could not be more blatant and egregious; yet Israel continues to enjoy immunity from the often- used sanctions against others; it enjoys impunity from any accountability for its aggression, which many have judged amount to war crimes; and impunity for flouting the so called “rules-based” world order.
Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2021