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At UNGA, Pakistan calls for an end to war, killings in Gaza

At UNGA, Pakistan calls for an end to war, killings in Gaza

Pakistan

Munir Akram said we are witnessing a human tragedy of epic proportions unfold in front of our eyes.

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UNITED NATIONS (Web Desk) - Pakistan on Friday reiterated in the UN General Assembly its strong condemnation of the collective punishment of Gaza’s entire Palestinian population by Israeli Occupation forces, saying it amounts to “war crimes and crimes against humanity” as well as a “veritable genocide.”

“Indeed, what we are witnessing on our television screens what the Palestinian people are enduring, may amount to a veritable genocide,” Ambassador Munir Akram told the 193-member Assembly’s emergency session on the Israel-Palestine conflict following the failure of the Security Council to take any action.

“We are witnessing a human tragedy of epic proportions unfold in front of our eyes,” the Pakistani envoy told delegates in the Assembly’s iconic hall.

Israel’s campaign of bombardment and air strikes, he said, has now continued for 20 days, with seven thousand helpless Palestinians – half of them children – killed and 17,000 wounded.

Entire families and neighbourhoods have been wiped out, Ambassador Akram said, adding the essential lifelines of Palestinian people – water, food, fuel – have been cut off. Over a million have been internally displaced. And, even those displaced, cannot hide from Israeli bombs, with forty percent of Gaza city destroyed.

The Pakistani envoy spoke ahead of the vote on a resolution submitted by Jordan on behalf of the 40 Arab and Islamic countries, including Pakistan, The resolution, which among other elements, calls for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce”, all parties comply with international law, and continuous and unhindered aid into the Gaza Strip.

Key issues in the draft include calls for an “immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce”, as well as “demands” that all parties comply with international humanitarian law and for “continuous, sufficient and unhindered” provision of essential supplies and services into the Gaza Strip, the state news agency reported.

It also calls “immediate and unconditional release” of all civilians held captive as well as demanding their safety, well-being and humane treatment in compliance with international law.

An amendment has been proposed by Canada that “unequivocally rejects and condemns the attacks by Hamas” in Israel starting 7 October and the taking of hostages.

Ambassador Akram urged the 193-member to vote for “our resolution” and to reject the “one-sided” Canadian amendment.

Noting UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ efforts since the outbreak of conflict and his warming about the risk of its spreading, He said, “We are repelled by the crude and disrespectful Israeli response to the Secretary-General’s circumspect and valid views,” referring to Israeli diplomats attacks on the UN chief.

“The General Assembly should collectively reject these insulting remarks and reaffirm our full confidence in the Secretary-General,” Ambassador Akram added.

“I am sure all of us are also appalled at the vicious and callous way that the Palestinians are being slaughtered – by cowardly aerial bombardment and long-range artillery– they are being crucified not by a militant organization but by the government, which claims to be democratic.

“And, we must be also appalled by those who, by blocking the call for a ceasefire in the Security Council, have enabled the continuation of the Israeli slaughter of innocents,” he added.

In the context of this war, he said, consideration should also be given to some form of an accountability mechanism.

“The crimes being committed, which cannot go unpunished. We have several precedents to choose from.”

“Finally,” Ambassador Akram said, “for the future, we need to consider the ways to prevent a recurrence of this slaughter.”