UNITED NATIONS  -    Pakistan has called on the international community to take urgent action to end the suffering of the Palestinian people and ensure that Israel abides by all UN resolutions and international laws so as to pave the way for an independent and contiguous state of Palestine.

“It is time to bring an end to this tragedy and reinvigorate hopes of peace and mutual co-existence in the entire region,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the UN General Assembly, while reaffirming Pakistan’s commitment to the Palestinian cause.

At the same time, she told the 193-member Assembly that Pakistan would join other member states in opposing a US resolution that seeks to condemn Hamas, which controls Gaza, “for repeatedly firing rockets into Israel and for inciting violence”, calling the move an attempt to “deflect the attention of the international community.”

“We all know what the contours of resolution to this longstanding conflict would look like: a comprehensive and peaceful settlement, ending occupation, realisation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including to self-determination and independence, and achievement of a two-state solution.”

Ambassador Lodhi said in the course of a debate on the situation in the Middle East. “A viable, independent and contiguous state of Palestine on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, is the only sustainable guarantee for enduring peace in the Middle East,” she said, emphasising that there was no alternative.

Underscoring the Security Council’s role, the Pakistani envoy said, “The Council will only add to its own credibility by ensuring full implementation of its longstanding resolutions.

In her remarks, Ambassador Lodhi said that ever since the Assembly adopted a resolution partitioning the mandate of Palestine into two states 71 years ago, the tragedy of the Palestinian people has remained an unremitting tale of broken promises and unfulfilled rights.

Today, she said, many warn that the entire region can plunge into a fresh vortex of violence. “This is a sobering assessment, for it portends fresh pain and suffering for the Palestinians,” the Pakistani envoy noted.

“After all, a `conflict’ that pits an occupying power against an occupied people, where one side is armed with guns and modern weaponry, the other, only with the abiding conviction in their cause, is by its very nature, a travesty of justice and all norms of international law,” she said, adding that it seeks to legitimise the strength of `might` over the power of `right’.

“The question of Palestine is a test of our commitment to the abiding principles of the UN Charter, based on the inherent dignity of an individual, and respect for the fundamental human rights of all human beings, including their right to self-determination, she said.

“The tragedy of Palestine is our collective failure, as members of the international community, to uphold these fundamental ideals.”

Noting that Oslo peace accords were signed 25 years ago, Ambassador Lodhi said their fundamental principles of the two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict continued to be systematically eroded.

The world unfortunately seems to have grown so accustomed to the disastrous events taking place in the occupied Palestine territory that the current failure to reach a peace deal seems to have become the new normal, Ambassador Lodhi said.

“But, let me remind this parliament of the world that there is nothing normal about the pain and suffering faced every day by the Palestinian people,” she said, citing a series of unfortunate events, including the flouting of long -standing Security Council and the General Assembly resolutions on Jerusalem’s status, the decision by some countries to relocate their embassies to Jerusalem, the illegal expansion of Israeli settlements into the occupied territory, the blockade of Gaza, plans to demolish the Bedouin community of Khan Al-Ahmar as part of Israel`s longstanding policy of forcibly displacing Palestinians from their lands, and the decision by a major donor to cease all financial support to UNRWA, the UN agency that assists Palestinian people.

“While the Palestinians continue to suffer and their homeland vanishes before our eyes, the international community cannot afford to remain silent any longer,” Ambassador Lodhi said. “Pakistan, on its part, remains steadfast in its commitment to the Palestine cause.”