Islamabad: Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the UN, Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon while speaking in the General Assembly on Wednesday on the Situation in the Middle East and the Question of Palestine has called upon Israel to immediately stop building new settlements or using settlement activity as a political tool in the peace process.
He said Israeli defiance of international community on the issue of settlement activity and the high level of impunity is destroying the peace process and inflicting innumerable hardships on the Palestinian people under its illegal occupation, says a press release received here today from New York.
Ambassador Haroon said complete withdrawal of Israel forces from the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and all other occupied Arab territories, including the Syrian Golan as well as parallel progress on the Syria-Israel and Lebanon-Israel tracks are essential to achieve comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East.
He said, “The people of all races and religions in the Middle East have suffered for the last six decades. Two generations in the region have completed their respective life-cycles in shadows of violence and insecurity. Only our firm resolve, concerted action and above-all political will to build lasting peace can save the succeeding generations from tragedies and tribulations of their ill-fated predecessors”.
The talks between Israel and Palestine have been stalled since September 2010 when Israel failed to renew a moratorium on settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem prompting Palestine to withdraw from negotiations.
The Ambassador further said that sustained and meaningful engagement of the international community is imperative to break the present stalemate. “It would be important for the international community to work on freezing all Israeli settlement activity, helping Palestinians to strengthen state-building institutions as well as ensuring progress on the UN membership status”. He called upon Israel to ease the blockade of Gaza and allow free flow of people and commerce in entire Occupied Arab Territories., Ambassador Haroon said.
The Ambassador also said that our collective deliberations in the General Assembly should send a strong message for the Security Council and the Middle East Quartet to fulfil their long-standing commitments towards a final settlement. While referring Quartet’s statement of 23rd September 2011 a positive in intent, Mr. Haroon said the Quartet’s initiative was neutralized by the Israeli decision to build new settlements in the Occupied Territories.
Palestine has made a significant attempt to claim its statehood in 2011, by submitting an application for full UN membership in September to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who quickly forwarded the Palestinian bid to the UN Security Council.
The bid is currently under discussion in the 15-nation council, where Israel’s close ally, the U.S., is expected to use its veto power to stop the request.
Expressing serious concern over recent reports about withholding revenue amounting to two-third of the total tax collection by Palestinians by Israel government and termed this measure as fiscal strangulation, the Ambassador called upon Israel to immediately release all Palestinian funds and not to repeat this act in the future.
Reiterating Pakistan support to the people of Palestine in their just struggle for the right to self-determination on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Ambassador also read out President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan’s message, which says “Pakistan has a natural and historical affiliation with the cause of Palestine, which is reflected in Pakistan’s active participation in all the initiatives taken for just and lasting resolution of the problem.
Pakistan has a deep commitment to a just, peaceful and lasting settlement of the issue. The framework for such a solution already exists in the relevant UN resolution and the Arab Peace Initiative. Pakistan strongly commends the impressive march of Palestinian people on the road to Statehood. Important achievements in areas of economic managements, security and governance have established a solid edifice for the State of Palestine.
We support the recognition of the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations. On the occasion of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, the government and people of Pakistan reiterate their commitment to support Palestinian brethren in their just struggle for self-determination and to have a State of their own with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital”.
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