Pakistan calls for Israel to be held accountable for its ‘crimes’ in occupied Palestine

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DNA

UNITED NATIONS, Jul 28: Pakistan has urged the UN Security Council to “fully and forcefully” implement its resolutions on the Middle East conflict that give the right of self-determination to the Palestinian people.

Speaking in the 15-member Council, Ambassador Munir Akram also strongly condemned the recent large-scale Israeli military operations in Jenin in occupied Palestinian West Bank, and called for holding Israel accountable for its “grave human rights violations and crimes in occupied Palestine.”

“Unfortunately,” the Pakistani envoy said, “The killing of children, women, and men continues in occupied Palestine with complete impunity.”

He added, “The rule of law can be upheld only if it is applied universally and consistently, without exceptions or double standards.”

Ambassador Akram regretted that the Security Council had not been able to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in occupied Palestine.

Giving the erga-omnes character of the right of self-determination, the Pakistani envoy said, “It is also incumbent on all States to ensure that any impediment to the exercise of the right to self-determination by the Palestinian people is immediately terminated.”

He said, “On July 5, three Special Rapporteurs of the United Nations Human Rights Council stated that Israeli attacks against the Jenin refugee camp may constitute a war crime and had no justification under international law.”

“The impunity that Israel has enjoyed for its acts of violence over decades only fuels and intensifies the recurring cycle of violence.”

The Special Rapporteurs also called for Israel to be held accountable under international law.

The Pakistani envoy said, “The continuing expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and the expulsion and evictions of Palestinians from their properties are illegal and grave violations of Council resolutions and international law, including humanitarian law.”

“The international community cannot accept the fait accompli Israel is seeking to impose with the design to perpetuate its forcible occupation and destroy Palestinian nationhood,” Ambassador Akram said.

“There will be no durable peace in the Holy land until the creation of an independent, viable, and contiguous State of Palestine, established on the basis of pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.”

Opening the debate on the situation in the troubled region, Khaled Khiari, Assistant Secretary-General for Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations, said that from 27 June-24 July in the occupied West Bank, 25 Palestinians, including 5 children, were killed, and 249 Palestinians were injured by Israeli security forces. 

According to Israel, 2 Israeli security forces personnel were killed while another 39 Israelis were injured by Palestinians.

“This deterioration is taking place alongside ongoing unilateral steps that undermine a two-State solution, the absence of a peace process, and the continuing economic challenges facing Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority,” he stressed.

On July 3-4, in the Jenin refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, Israeli security forces carried out an operation marked by multiple drone strikes and over 1,000 ground troops.  Twelve Palestinians, including four children, were killed and over 140 injured — the most in a single operation in the West Bank since the United Nations began tracking casualties in 2005.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad al-Quds Brigades claimed 8 of the 12 fatalities as members, including children.

Israeli settler violence continues, albeit not at the scale witnessed in June, he pointed out, reminding Israel of its responsibility to abide by international humanitarian law when carrying out security measures.

“The funding gap faced by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) is of grave concern,” Khiari went on to say, urging the international community to contribute the $200 million the Agency urgently needed to maintain services from September onwards.

Ambassador Riyad Mansour, the Permanent Observer for the State of Palestine said, “There are more than 700,000 Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. 

“So, let us start by calling things by their name,” he urged.

 “The Israeli occupation is a settler-colonial occupation”, and the only way the international community can end it is to address its settler-colonial nature,” he stated.

“We need an action plan, with the necessary resources and the will to implement it,” he stressed.

“The International Criminal Court investigations must start yielding results by providing justice for victims and deterring perpetrators.  The International Court of Justice advisory opinion will give the United Nations and all States guidance on their legal obligations,” Riyad Mansour concluded.