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World

We must not fail the Palestinian people at this critical juncture, FM Qureshi tells UNGA emergency session

  • “Driven by arrogance and emboldened by impunity, Israel has mounted a relentless onslaught on the occupied and beleaguered people of Palestine,” said Qureshi.
  • "If the Security Council cannot agree to send protection force, a coalition of willing can be formed to provide at least civilian observers to monitor accession of hostilities”, says Qureshi
Updated 20 May 2021

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday called on the world to support the Palestinian people at this critical juncture.

He made these remarks while addressing the 67th plenary meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, called by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League.

“We must not fail the Palestinian people at this critical juncture,” Qureshi said and hoped that the United Nations Security Council will issue a call for the violence to stop.

“There are times in history when decisions of nations are remembered by posterity. This is one such moment,” Qureshi said, adding that what we do today or cannot do will be recorded in history.

“Driven by arrogance and emboldened by impunity, Israel has mounted a relentless onslaught on the occupied and beleaguered people of Palestine,” he added.

He highlighted that the ten days of Israeli attacks have martyred more than 250 Palestinians and left thousands injured — one-third of which are women and children.

“Death echoes in every home in Gaza,” Qureshi said, stressing the gravity of the situation. He also recalled one such tragedy, in which all ten members of the Abu Hattab family had embraced martyrdom in Israeli strikes.

Hundreds of such tragedies happen every hour in Gaza, and other parts of Palestine, the foreign minister said, adding that over 50,000 Palestinians have fled their homes due to a constant war-like situation in Gaza.

“These people are very people and have limited access to water, food, hygiene, and health services.”

Qureshi said hospitals, shelter homes, and sanitation services rely on electricity but fuel for power plants “has almost run out,” plunging Gaza into darkness. “The only light is that of Israeli explosions,” he said.

He stressed that there is no more room for military equivalence between the beleaguered Palestinian people and the Israeli military, and urged the world to mobilize all possible humanitarian help for the devastated population in Gaza, send medical teams, medicines, food, and other supplies.

The Foreign Minister also called for an international force to be deployed for protection.

"If the Security Council cannot agree to send protection force, a coalition of willing can be formed to provide at least civilian observers to monitor accession of hostilities”, says Qureshi

Shah Mahmood Qureshi also called upon UNGA to condemn the forced and illegal eviction of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.

“It is imperative to initiate bold steps to secure the implementation of the Security Council and General Assembly resolutions calling for a Palestinian state.”

He said the onus for restoring peace was on Israel that needed to end its occupation of Palestinian land.

"This General Assembly session must send a clear message to Israel and the Palestinian people," he added.

Qureshi later posted a message on Twitter showing solidarity with Palestine.

Earlier, when the Palestinian foreign minister took the podium, Israel’s envoy to the UN walked out.

Earlier in the day, the foreign minister hosted a working dinner involving the foreign minister of several Muslim countries ahead of the UNGA meeting on Thursday.

The dinner was attended by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Palestine's Foreign Minister Riad Al-Malki, Tunisia Foreign Minister Othman Jerandi, President of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir, and envoys of OIC countries in the UN, according to a statement by Pakistan mission to the UN.

Addressing the session, Qureshi said that the entire Muslim world is outraged over Israeli barbarism against innocent Palestinians.

“He [Qureshi] reiterated Pakistan’s strongest possible condemnation of Israel’s deliberate and systematic assault against Palestinian worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramazan; violation of the sanctity of the holy sites; its policy of expansion of illegal settlements; as well as forced eviction of Palestinians, and demolition of their homes with impunity,” the statement read.

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