Pakistan on Thursday joined Turkey in urging the UN to deploy an international protection force in occupied Palestinian territories to protect innocents there from Israeli violence.
Speaking at a UN General Assembly special meeting on Palestine, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said Gaza has plunged in darkness, literally and metaphorically, while the only light is that of Israeli explosions.
“The General Assembly should call for concrete steps to protect the Palestinians. We should deploy an international protection force, as was called for in General Assembly Resolution ES-10/20 and as demanded by the Islamic Summit Conference on 18 May 2018,” Qureshi said.
“If the Security Council cannot agree to send a protection force, a ‘coalition of the willing’ can be formed to provide at least civilian observers to monitor a cessation of the hostilities and supervise the provision of humanitarian help to the Palestinians,” he suggested.
The meeting in New York chaired by Volkan Bozkir, the Turkish diplomat who heads the UN General Assembly, was also attended by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and foreign ministers from such countries as Palestine, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, Algeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Kuwait, Maldives, Tunisia, and Saudi Arabia.
This was also the first in-person participation at the ministerial level at UN headquarters since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, according to Bozkir.
Qureshi also called on Guterres and the UN high commissioner for human rights to offer protection to Israel’s Arab citizens who are being lynched and murdered by fascist Israeli gangs.
Accountable for war crimes
Qureshi also urged Israel be held accountable for its war crimes and asked the UN to activate the Human Rights Council, International Criminal Court, International Court of Justice, and other avenues to ensure this.
“Israel’s crimes against humanity should not escape accountability. There should be no impunity for violation of international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention and other human rights conventions,” he said.
Qureshi said that so far over 250 Palestinians have been killed and thousands other injured, one-third of them women and children.
“Death echoes in every home in Gaza. The Israeli airstrikes are responsible for the taking of every single life of the Abu Hatab family. Two were women and eight children,” he said, adding that so far over 50,000 Palestinian have fled their homes in Gaza.
He added that Israeli airstrikes destroyed entire buildings to kill and terrorize innocent Palestinians and even silence the media.
“It is time to say ‘Enough!’” he said.
He underlined his country’s full support for the Palestinian people, saying, “The voice of the Palestinian people cannot and will not be silenced. We, the representatives of the Islamic world, are here to speak with them and for them.”
Qureshi also expressed regret over the Security Council’s failure to halt Israeli attacks, saying: “It is appalling that the Security Council has been unable to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. The Security Council has failed even to demand a cessation of hostilities.”
“Those preventing the council from doing so bear a heavy responsibility,” he added, referring to the US blocking Security Council statements demanding an immediate cease-fire.Qureshi ended his speech with a verse from his country’s resistance poet saying: “O Land of Palestine! I too, am there for you.” -AA