NEW YORK – Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi while highlighting Israeli atrocities against the people of Palestine said that such inhumane acts cannot and will silence the voice of the people of the war-torn country.
He was addressing an emergency session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) called to discuss Israeli violence against the people of Palestin.
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) May 20, 2021
“There are times in history when decisions of nations are remembered by posterity. This is one such moment,” Qureshi said while opening his address to the UNGA.
“What we do today or cannot do will be recorded in history. Driven by arrogance and emboldened by impunity, Israel has mounted a relentless onslaught on the occupied and beleaguered people of Palestine,” Qureshi said.
He said that one week of Israeli attacks have killed more than 250 Palestinians, including children and women, besides leaving thousands people injured.
“Death echoes in every home in Gaza,” Qureshi said to show the level of devastation being faced by Palestinians.
He also recalled a tragic incident in which ten members of the Abu Hattab family were killed in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza.
“Hundreds of such tragedies are being enacted every hour in Gaza and other parts of the Palestinian territories. So far over 50,000 Palestinians have fled their homes in Gaza,” he highlighted.
He added that people in Gaza have limited access to water, food, hygiene and health services due to ongoing Israeli aggression.
Qureshi said hospitals and sanitation services depend on electricity but fuel for power plants “has almost run out”.
“Gaza has plunged in darkness […] the only light is that of Israeli explosions,” he highlighted.
“Israeli airstrikes bring down entire buildings to kill and terrorise innocent Palestinians and even silence the media,” he said while referring to an attack on a high-rise building that housed media offices.
“It is time to say enough. The voice of the Palestinian people cannot and will not be silenced,” he said.
He said the representatives of the Muslim countries are there to speak with and for Palestine.
The foreign minister said it is “appalling” that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has been unable to maintain international peace and security.
He said it has even failed to demand a cessation of atrocities, and warned that those barring the UNSC from doing so “bear a heavy responsibility”.
He said the UNGA must play its own role. “We must not fail the Palestinian people at this critical juncture.”
“Our first priority must be to halt the Israeli aggression. I hope that even at this eleventh hour, the Security Council will call for a cessation of Israeli attacks. If it fails to do so, the General Assembly must make this demand on behalf of the entire international community,” he said.
He said there is no moral or military equivalence between Palestine and Israel. Whereas Palestinians have no army, navy or airforce, while the Israeli war machine is one of the most powerful in the world.
“This is a war between a military occupier and an occupied people. It is a conflict between illegal occupation and a legitimate struggle for self determination,” he added.
The Pakistani minister also called for deployment of the international protection force in Palestine, adding that at least civilian observes should be deployed in the region to ensure the cessation of hostilities if UNSC is not ready for appointing the force.
He also called for provision of humanitarian aid to the devastated Palestinian population in Gaza and other parts of the occupied territories.
The foreign minister said Pakistan welcomes Egypt’s decision to open access to Gaza and Israel should also open all access points to the area in order to ensure the timely and urgent delivery of international assistance.
A day earlier, the Pakistani foreign minister hosted a working dinner of the Foreign Ministers of the OIC countries to discuss the worsening situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to help formulate a unified and unequivocal response from the OIC Member States.
The working dinner was attended by the Foreign Ministers including His Excellency Mr. Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey; His Excellency Mr. Riad Al-Malki, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine; His Excellency Monsieur Othman Jerandi, Minister des Affaires étrangères de la République Tunisia. President General Assembly, H.E Mr Volkan Bozkir was also present at the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Qureshi said that the entire Muslim Ummah is outraged over Israel’s use of indiscriminate and disproportionate force against innocent Palestinians, resulting in the loss of numerous innocent lives, including women and children. He reiterated Pakistan’s strongest possible condemnation of Israel’s deliberate and systematic assault against Palestinian worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramazan; violation of the sanctity of the holy sites; its policy of expansion of illegal settlements; as well as forced eviction of Palestinians, and demolition of their homes with impunity.
He expressed his deep gratitude to all brotherly OIC countries, who along with Pakistan, played a proactive role in convening the special meeting of the UN General Assembly. He expressed the hope that special meeting of the United Nations General Assembly will help send a strong message on behalf of the OIC to the international community to help end the Israeli aggression and to take concrete steps to find a solution to the Palestinian issue.
Foreign Minister’s visit to New York is part of Pakistan’s intensive diplomatic outreach efforts to mobilize international support to end the ongoing Israeli aggression against the Palestinians.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi will address the special session of the UN General Assembly tomorrow, which has been convened as a result of combined efforts of Pakistan and other OIC countries to discuss the Israeli aggression against the Palestinians.
Also were present, Permanent Representative of Pakistan at the United Nations, Ambassador Munir Akram, and Ambassador of Pakistan at Washington D.C Mr. Asad Majeed Khan.