PR No.246 Islamabad

At the United Nations, Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi underscored the urgency to find a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to establish durable peace in the Middle East, says a press release received here today from New York.

Speaking in a debate on Palestine in the 193-member General Assembly, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN said the Security Council should cease dithering and act on this most potent threat to international peace and security”.

She warned that prospects of a two-state solution were fading as “Israeli intransigence and belligerent actions continued to undermine the possibility of reviving the peace process”.

Resumption of direct negotiations she said was the best way forward. But the Pakistani envoy pointed out that talks should be meaningful and result oriented and not a means to provide space to Israel to further shrink prospects of a contiguous state of Palestine through constructing illegal settlements on Palestinian lands.

Ambassador Lodhi said that “The international community must work with determination to help in resuming a process with clear timelines and parameters”.

Recalling of the immense suffering endured by the Palestinian people for almost seventy years, Ambassador Lodhi said that they have suffered decades of foreign occupation, repression and humiliation. “They have been subjected to targeted killings, collective punishment, arbitrary detention and countless other violations of human rights and international humanitarian law”.

She said that Israeli restrictions on Palestinian freedoms and rights, harassment and violence by Israeli settlers, construction of illegal settlements, terror and provocation in and around the holy sites, including the Al-Aqsa mosque, and bleak prospects for peace were compounding the plight of the Palestinian people.

Ambassador Lodhi warned that continued persecution of Palestinian people would inescapably “lead to more violence” and a “deepening of their sense of despondency”.

She urged the international community to mount pressure on Israel for immediate steps to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian people and give them hope about their future. These included lifting the blockade of Gaza; end to all illegal settlement construction; release of all Palestinian detainees and an end to the demolition of Palestinian houses and expulsion of Palestinians from their properties.

A just, sustainable and equitable resolution of the Middle East conflict, she said, was only possible through an independent and viable State of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Referring to the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan, she said that Israeli settlement policy and illegal practices of controlling resources and changing the demographic composition and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan was blatant disregard of UN resolutions.