Pakistan denounces Israel’s effort to construct settlements in West Bank


UNITED NATIONS: Pakistan has denounced Israel’s plan to construct 300 new Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, saying the move was aimed at sabotaging the internationally accepted two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We firmly believe that the creation of an independent, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, based on pre-1967 borders, with Al-Quds al Sharif as its capital, is an essential prerequisite to sustainable peace in the Middle East,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the UN Security Council on Wednesday.

Speaking in a debate on the situation in the Middle East, she said the  brutal occupation of Palestine and the denial of self-determination was a key source of the conflicts that were consuming the entire region.

“The violence within the Israeli occupied territories will not remain  insulated from the conflicts raging across Israel’s imposed frontiers,” the Pakistani envoy told the 15-member Council.

Rejecting Israel’s plan to build new settlements in the occupied  territories, Ambassador Lodhi said, “With every new settlement plan, the Israeli Government is systemically sabotaging the possibility of the two-state solution, the only viable option for durable peace; an option that has been accepted by the parties as well as the international community.”

The inability of the Security Council to halt the expansion of Israeli settlements had encouraged the Israeli leadership to entrench its “obduracy and intransigence,” she said.

However, the Occupying Power should recognize that its political identity would not survive a one-State solution; it will reinforce its character as an apartheid state.

The grim situation in Syria, which included foreign interference, state  repression, terrorism and ethnic division, had resulted in human suffering and the refugee crisis, the Pakistani envoy said. She underscored the need to defeat ISIL and other terrorist groups, and to preserve the country’s territorial integrity.

In Iraq, the Pakistani envoy hoped that the diverse military coalition would soon eject Daesh from Mosul.

“Military success against Daesh will also need to be accompanied by credible political measures to reconcile the ethnic and denominational differences within Iraq, and the associated rivalries among regional powers, that have prevented the restoration of peace and stability in the country since the 2003 foreign intervention,” Ambassador Lodhi said.

The intensity and impact of the conflict has been exacerbated by external factors, she said, adding that the realization of peace in Yemen must be based on the restoration of international legitimacy and the reconciliation of the political, religious and tribal differences within the country.

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