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Israel must cease construction of illegal settlements in occupied territories

Islamabad, December 01, 2012 (PPI-OT): Citing historic verdict by the UN General Assembly by admitting Palestine into its family as a ‘Non-Member Observer State’, a step in the right direction, Ambassador Masood Khan hoped that this would pave the way for Palestine to get recognition as a full member in the United Nations.

He congratulated President Mahmoud Abbas and the people of Palestine on this historic verdict, adding that this was a clear manifestation and acceptance of realities on the ground. He was Speaking in the UN General Assembly on “Situation in the Middle East – The Question of Palestine”, says a press release received here today from New York.

The UN General Assembly on Thursday accorded Palestine ‘Non-Member Observer State status’ in the United Nations. The resolution co-sponsored by Pakistan received 138 votes in favour – 9 countries opposed while 41-chose abstention.

Speaking on disappointment by some countries over the World Body’s decision for according Palestine non-member observer state status, Mr. Khan said that the people of Palestine had waited too long for the exercise of their right to self-determination and recognition of legitimate statehood. He hoped that this decision would not invite reprisals or retaliations against Palestine. “The people of Palestine need compassion and solidarity not estrangement and punishment. We hope that instead of punitive measures, the emphasis will now shift to the resumption of dialogue for implementing the agreed two-State solution”.

Mr. Khan called for immediate stop to the construction of illegal settlements in occupied territories, adding that this was not only shrinking the window for a two-State solution but was also a major hurdle in realization of peace in the region. “Israel must heed Secretary General’s call to freeze all settlement activity in line with the Quartet road map”. Quoting Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, and Secretary General report, the ambassador warned that any deviation from two-state solution would have unpredictable and disastrous consequences.

Pak envoy underlined the need for an immediate reactivation of Middle East peace process, based on internationally agreed terms of reference, including Security Council resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, the Quartet Roadmap and the Madrid principles. “The immobility of the Quartet leaves the people of Palestine with little hope. The winds of change blowing through the wider region demand that the Palestinians get a fair and just dispensation about their destiny”.

The Ambassador said Pakistan firmly believes that comprehensive peace in the Middle East would remain elusive without creation of an independent, viable and contiguous state of Palestine, based on pre-1967 borders with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. “Resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including through the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanese territories and the Syrian Golan is the only guarantee of sustainable peace in the region”, he added.

“The dark night of suffering of the people of Palestine must end now. A Palestinian State, living side by side in peace and security with its neighbours is the only guarantee of security and stability in the region. The international community must rise to deliver justice”.

Mentioning recent military campaign by the Israeli forces against the people of Gaza, killing over 160, while injuring over 1200 and leaving behind a trail of destruction, the Ambassador said had worsened the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

He strongly urged the international community to take immediate and effective steps to ensure that violence does not erupt again. He also mentioned the blockade of Gaza a violation of Security Council Resolution, and called for an urgent end to this policy, as it collectively punishing 1.5 million Palestinians.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
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