OIC demands end to Israel’s attacks against Palestinians

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57-member body accuses UNSC of inertia
Qureshi calls for accountability of Israel’s crimes


Observer Reort 
Riyadh/ Islamabad

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called on Sunday for an immediate halt to Israel’s barbaric attacks on Gaza and blamed “systematic crimes” against the Palestinians for hostilities now in their seventh day.

The OIC statement came after a virtual meeting in which Saudi Arabia condemned the violation of the sanctity of Muslim holy sites and evictions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

The 57-member body accused the United Nations Security Council of inertia. Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei issued a separate statement on Sunday, tweeted by Malaysia’s premier, calling for an emergency UN General Assembly meeting.

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates called for a ceasefire. The UAE and Bahrain had along with other Arab states last year broken a longstanding taboo in the region by establishing formal ties with Israel, with tacit approval from Gulf power Riyadh.

“De-escalation and the highest degree of restraint are important to avoid dragging the region to new levels of instability,” said UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation Reem al-Hashimy.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday, while reaffirming Pakistan’s abiding support for the Palestinian people, called for immediate protection of Palestinians against “senseless Israeli aggression”, implementation of United Nations resolutions, and accountability of Israel’s crimes against humanity.

Addressing the virtual open-ended emergency meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) executive committee to discuss Israel’s aggression against Palestine, the foreign minister stressed that all necessary steps must be taken for stopping the ongoing aggression against the Palestinian people and their properties.

He said the international community must 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,” he added.

FM Qureshi also underlined that implementing forthwith resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council, UN General Assembly and the UN Human Rights Council was both critical and urgent.

Israel’s crimes against humanity should not escape accountability, he said, adding, there should be no impunity for Israel’s violation of international law, including the fourth Geneva and the other various human rights conventions.

“Attempts to create a false equivalence between Israel, the aggressor, and Palestinians, the victims, are inexcusable and as the collective voice of the Muslim Ummah the OIC should work in unity to dispel this deliberately deceptive perception,” he said.

Attempts to silence media and reporting, through tyranny, the foreign minister said, was evident from Israel’s horrifying airstrike yesterday, bringing down a high rise building in Gaza that housed media outlets was unacceptable.

He said Pakistan was appalled by the sheer magnitude of illegal, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force and tyranny and injustice being perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces against defenceless 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 added.

Qureshi said the indiscriminate use of force by Israeli forces against defenceless Palestinians was tantamount to grave violations of principles underpinned in international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law.

“Death and destruction in the holy month of Ramazan; during Eidul Fitr is unacceptable. Endless, senseless violence must end,” he said.

The foreign minister said the respect for the sanctity of religious places was well-established in international law.

In this regard, he said, Pakistan played a key role during its non-permanent term in the Security Council in 1968-69.

In addition to adopting Pakistan-initiated resolutions 252 and 267, the Security Council also adopted resolution 271 (5 September 1969), also initiated by Pakistan, following the burning of the Al-Aqsa Mosque on August 5, 1969.

We are also gravely concerned at the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and expulsion of Palestinians from their properties,” he maintained.

The foreign minister said the tragedy of forced evictions of Palestinians from the Shaikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Al-Quds Al-Shareef was 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. The foreign minister said the OIC owed 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.