UNITED NATIONS, Nov 13 (APP): Underscoring the forecast of a “third and more intense intifada”, Pakistan on Thursday called for a settlement of the Middle East conflict through an independent, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
“We believe that durable peace can only be achieved through political solutions, not through heavy-handed tactics and use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the United Nations, told he General Assembly’s Fourth Committee, which deals with special political decolonization matters.
Speaking in a debate on the report of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, she stressed the need for an immediate end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza, now in its eighth year.
Ambassador Lodhi expressed alarm over rising incidents of violence, and said, “A third and more intense intifada is being forecast.”
Ambassador Lodhi noted that Israel continued with its policy of non-cooperation with the Special Committee and persisted in refusing access to international bodies seeking to investigate and verify the situation on the ground.Innocent Palestinian civilians, including women and children, continued to suffer brutal repression, she said.
“We cannot continue to ignore the long struggle for self determination of the Palestinians,” the Pakistani envoy said.
“A just, sustainable and equitable resolution of the Middle East conflict is only possible through an independent, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.”
A long-term solution, she said, would also require the withdrawal of occupation forces from all Arab lands, including from Lebanon and the Syrian Golan Heights.
Ambassador Lodhi said the devastation of Gaza had exacerbated the suffering of the Palestinian people and the illegal eight-year-old blockade was seriously hampering rebuilding efforts. The practice of meting out collective punishment also continued, despite its obvious futility, she said.
The tragic case of Abdel Rahman, a 13-year-old ninth grader at a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) school who had been shot dead by Israeli forces on 5 October, was just the latest grim reminder of heavy-handed practices by the occupation forces, the Pakistani envoy said.New discriminatory legislation targeting Palestinian minors imposed a mandatory minimum penalty of four years’ imprisonment for stone-throwing.
Such mental and physical persecution of Palestinian youth would only engender more violence and aggravate their sense of despondency, she warned.