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Pak Envoy To UN Pushes For A Ceasefire In Gaza

MANHATTAN: Pakistan, on behalf of a group of 14 countries, on Friday (15th of Dec, 2023) again pushed for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Pakistani Envoy underscored the need for an international mechanism to protect Palestinian civilians from Israeli bombing, and intensified efforts towards peacefully resolving the Middle East conflict.

“The Israeli killing machine must be stopped in Gaza and the West Bank,” Ambassador Munir Akram told the UN General Assembly which met to hear the remaining speakers of its Dec. 12 emergency session, when he made Pakistan’s national statement.

He said, “The international community must also establish an accountability mechanism and a special tribunal to investigate Israel’s atrocity crimes.”

The 193-member Assembly has already adopted a resolution, by an overwhelming majority, demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and reiterating its insistence that parties to the conflict comply with international law, all hostages be released immediately and without conditions and humanitarian access be ensured.

The Assembly acted after the United States vetoed the Security Council’s ceasefire resolution.

“We deeply regret that calls from the UN Secretary-General and the General Assembly were not heeded by Israel and it continues its criminal attacks against the Palestinian people,” the Pakistani envoy said.

The group of countries he spoke for include: Algeria, Bolivia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Nigeria, Syria and Venezuela.

“We are witnessing a human tragedy of epic proportions unfolding in front of our eyes,” Ambassador Akram said.

Israel’s indiscriminate bombardments from air, land, and sea, along with intense ground operations across Gaza have now continued for over two months, killing more than 18,000 people, most of them women and children, wounding close to 50,000.

“Entire families and neighborhoods have been wiped out,” the Pakistani envoy said, noting that the number of people killed is the highest in proportion to population since this century began.

Drawing particular attention to the 134 UNRWA staff members who were killed in Gaza, he said this was the highest-ever-recorded killing of United Nations personnel in the history of the Organization.

“Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, blockading of food and other essentials, and forced displacement of Palestinians are flagrant violations of humanitarian law and may amount to the crime of genocide,” Ambassador Akram said.

“The collective punishment endured by the besieged people of Gaza is unprecedented in modern history”, he said.

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

Meanwhile in Tel Aviv, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan re-affirmed Washington’s continued support for Israel’s brutal war on the Gaza Strip after he was told by top Israeli official that the onslaught on the besieged Palestinian territory ‘will last more than several months’.

Sullivan arrived in Tel Aviv on Thursday, where he met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Minister of Military Affairs Yoav Gallant.

According to Media reports, Sullivan said he discussed the timeline of Israel’s war on Gaza, which in its third month now, with Netanyahu and other top officials.

“I’m here today on President [Joe] Biden’s behalf to emphasize our continued commitment to support Israel in its fight against Hamas.”

In his remarks to the Assembly, Ambassador Akram rejected Israel’s portrayal of its aggressive actions as anti-terrorism measures and its relentless bombing of Gaza as an exercise of self-defense.

“The root cause of the crisis lies in Israel’s prolonged occupation and denial of Palestinians’ inalienable right to self-determination.

Israel’s murderous campaign against the occupied people of Palestine struggling for their freedom cannot be justified under the guise of self-defence,” he added.

The Pakistani envoy recalled that the Arab-OIC summit meeting in Riyadh had called on all countries to stop exporting weapons to Israel, and highlighted the need for intensified efforts to find a durable solution.

Earlier, Palestinian Ambassador Riyadh Mansour described the Israeli assault as a war against Palestinian history and existence.

Israel is deliberately targeting hospitals, homes, mosques and churches, he pointed out.

He noted that the occupation forces are killing engineers and doctors and poets and academics, as well as those who would document the crime and inform the world — the journalists.

Further, the Palestinian envoy said that Israel has been deliberately making Gaza unlivable for human life, inflicting maximum pain to force a people out of their country, pointing out that it had confessed to that goal.

However, he pointed out, Israel has failed in its efforts to bully and silence member states of the United Nations.

Highlighting the global call for a ceasefire, emanating from people around the world, as well as the human rights community, Ambassador Mansour noted that, while the Security Council was blocked by a single veto, 153 countries in the General Assembly voted in favour of that resolution.

Palestinian children now know much more about death than about life, he said, underlining that one million Palestinian children in Gaza were facing a death sentence that could take effect at any moment.