UNITED NATIONS: Criticizing the Israeli leadership for “fast closing” the prospects of peace with the Palestinians, Pakistan has called on the United Naitons Security Council to adopt a legally-binding plan to implement the internationally agreed two-state solution and take steps to enforce it.
Speaking in a Security Council debate on the situation in the Middle East (ME) Monday, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi said Israel was “willfully” thwarting the possibility of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through its policy of expanding settlements, demolitions and incitement, accompanied by the refusal to engage in a meaningful dialogue to implement the two state solutions, rendering the prospects of peace “abysmal”.
“Unless the Israeli Government agrees to resume the implementation of the two state solution, halts and reverses its policy of expanding settlements, the UN Security Council must, in accordance with its mandate and its own resolutions, adopt a concrete and legally binding plan to implement the two state solutions and take the necessary measures for its enforcement,” the Pakistani envoy added.
The promise of a two-state solution must be kept, she said, adding “An independent, contiguous and viable state of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is and must remain our objective.”
Ambassador Lodhi told the 15-member Council that violence by the occupation forces against Palestinian children, women and other innocent Palestinians continued unabated, and Illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem had increased by 250 percent during the first 3 months of this year as compared to last year.
Pakistan, she said, remained committed to supporting the Palestinians in their decades-long legitimate struggle for their rights and dignity.
The Pakistani envoy warned that it will be difficult to resolve the other crises which have proliferated in the Middle East or to eliminate the rise of terrorism and extremism unless the world finds a just and durable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
She said the scale of suffering in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere was unprecedented in its scope and intensity. “As we discuss solutions here today, people continue to endure unimaginable suffering, and their exodus has created a humanitarian catastrophe,” the Pakistani envoy said.
There is an urgent need for statesmanship, diplomacy and dialogue. Political and ideological polarization in the region has exacerbated the consequences of external intervention, intensified sectarian and ethnic divisions and rendered political solutions more difficult.
“The unity displayed by the international community in combating ISIS is a critical first step. But these efforts will be successful only when the world addresses the underlying reasons for the appeal of its toxic ideology to so many young and impressionable people in so many countries.”
Turning to Syria, Ambassador Lodhi said it was critical that the cessation-of-hostilities accord was maintained and that the Geneva talks charted a way towards a negotiated settlement. Concerning Yemen, she expressed hope that the today’s difficulty with initiating dialogue in Kuwait would be temporary.