UNITED NATIONS, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Pakistan's permanent representative to the United Nations Munir Akram on Sunday called on the UN Security Council to initiate steps to hold Israel accountable for its war crimes and crimes against humanity.
"Above all, the Security Council must promote the full implementation of the relevant UN resolutions especially for the realization of the two-state solution through the establishment of a viable, independent and contiguous Palestinian state with pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital," Akram told the Security Council's open videoconference debate dedicated to discussing the recent escalation of violence in Israel, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
"In the grim backdrop of the deteriorating situation in the region, we urge the Security Council to fulfill its Charter obligations, to call for an immediate halt to Israel's use of disproportionate and arbitrary force, to offer protections to the Palestinian civilians who are bearing the brunt of the Israeli attacks, and to ensure Israel's full compliance with international humanitarian and human rights laws, including the right to life, freedom of worship, movement and peaceful assembly," said the ambassador.
Israel must be asked to stop all unilateral and illegal steps including settlements and attempts to change the status of Jerusalem, noted Akram, who is currently president of the UN Economic and Social Council.
"Pakistan condemns Israel's use of indiscriminate and disproportionate force, including aerial bombing, resulting in the deaths of nearly 200 Palestinians, including dozens of women and children, as well as destruction of civilian infrastructure," he said.
"We also strongly condemn Israel's deliberate and systematic assault against Palestinian worshippers in the Haram-al-Sharif, including the Al-Aqsa mosque during the holy month of Ramadan, its violation of the sanctity of these holy sites, its continued policy of expansion of its illegal settlements, its forced evictions of Palestinians and demolition of their homes, and its targeting of journalists and international media outlets in the occupied Palestinian territories," said the ambassador.
These Israeli actions are unacceptable and in contravention of the norms of international law. They violate UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, and have grave implications for the maintenance of peace and security in the region and beyond, he added.
"The Palestinian cause is a legitimate struggle against an 'occupying power' by an 'occupied people.' It is a just struggle for self-determination and against foreign occupation. The asymmetry of power between an occupied and beleaguered people and one of the most powerful militaries in the region is stark and brutally evident," said the ambassador.
After hundreds of Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli police in East Jerusalem last week, Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, launched rocket attacks against Israel, which responded with intense airstrikes against targets in Gaza. Enditem