Pakistan Wednesday expressed regret over the United States veto on a U.N.Security Council resolution earlier in the day that would have called for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver life-saving aid to millions pf traumatized people in embattled Gaza.
The resolution, sponsored by Brazil, had wide support and would have also condemned all violence against civilians. The vote in the 15-member Council was 12 votes in favour to one (United States) against, with Russia and China abstaining.
“Pakistan supports an immediate ceasefire,” Ambassador Munir Akram, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, told an emergency meeting of the Security Council, which followed the vote. China, Russia and the UAE convened the meeting to discuss the worsening situation in the Gaza.
Referring to today’s vote, Ambassador Akram said, “Although the Brazilian resolution needed considerable improvement in our view, we were surprised at the Council’s inability to adopt it due to the veto cast by a permanent member.”
He added, “A heavy responsibility rests on those who have contributed to the prolongation of consistent bombing of Gaza’s citizens that is taking place.”
The Pakistani envoy also regretted that the Security Council was unable to issue a call for a ceasefire, due to the opposition and insufficient support for the resolution proposed by the Russia a day before, and for the Russian amendments to the Brazilian resolution calling for a ceasefire this morning.
“Today is the eleventh day of relentless, catastrophic Israeli attacks on Gaza. All of Gaza is under militarily siege, and electricity, water, and all humanitarian aid channels have been cut off. The entire population of Gaza – women, children, and elderly – are being collectively punished by the indiscriminate Israeli attacks”, Ambassador Akram said
Pakistan, he said, strongly condemns Israeli air strikes and military incursions into Gaza, the killing of civilians, and the large-scale displacement of an already occupied and battered people.
“The laws of war and the international humanitarian law, especially the Geneva Conventions must be strictly observed.”
Ambassador Akram also “strongly and unequivocally” condemned Israel’s cowardly and criminal attack on the Al-Ahley hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, killing hundreds, mostly sick and wounded Palestinian children, women and men.
” This willful atrocity, an attack on a hospital, which enjoys explicit protection under international law, is clearly a war crime and a crime against humanity,” he said, adding those responsible must be held accountable through an international inquiry and accountability process.
Despite the paralysis in the Security Council today, Ambassador Akram hoped that the General Assembly and the UN Secretary-General and the UN agencies will be able to halt the conflict, secure the opening of humanitarian corridors to ensure food, water and medicines, fuel and other essential supplies to the Palestinians in Gaza and prevent the displacement of the Palestinian population of Gaza.
He urged the UN to give urgent consideration to OIC’s proposal for an international protection force to protect innocent lives from the ongoing attacks by the occupation forces and extremist colonialist settlers. T
The root cause of this latest violence is the prolonged and illegal occupation of Palestine and the usurpation of the lands and properties of Palestinians and the accompanying oppression and massive violations of human rights committed with impunity by Israel, he said, noting that illegality of Israel’s occupation has been reaffirmed by the International Court of Justice.
“Any attempt to create a false equivalence between Israel, the aggressor, and the Palestinians, the victims, is untenable – legally, morally and political,” the Pakistan envoy told delegates.
The struggle of peoples under foreign and alien occupation for self-determination and national liberation is legitimate under international law and they have the right to use all possible means in this struggle to achieve their freedom, he said.
“It is the suppression of this struggle, which is illegal. Under the Charter, States have the right of self-defense against attacks on their sovereignty and territorial integrity. Yet, a State which is in forcible occupation of a foreign territory, cannot invoke the ‘right to self-defense’ against those whose territory it has illegally occupied.”
In conclusion, Ambassador Akram said, “The final solution to the protracted conflict that has claimed so many lives and continues to jeopardize the stability of the entire region, lies in the creation of a secure, viable, contiguous, and sovereign state of Palestine on the basis of the pre-June 1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.”
By Nadeem Faisal Baiga