UNITED NATIONS : Pakistan has told the UN Security Council that Israel’s latest law, which defines the country as a nation-state of the Jewish people, was a “vivid manifestation” of Tel Aviv’s consistent policy of discrimination against Palestinians, and called for boosting efforts to promote a just solution to the Middle East conflict.
“The long-suffering Palestinian people continue to face well-entrenched and systematic violations of their fundamental human rights at the hands of the Israeli occupation,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi, permanent representative of Pakistan to the UN, said in an open debate on the Middle East situation in the 15-member Council.
In this regard, she said the Jewish Nation ‘State Law, passed by Israel’s Knesset (Parliament) on 19 July, provided a vivid manifestation of the legally enshrined policy of discrimination by that country, which relegates the indigenous Arab population to second ‘class citizen status and eliminates the official standing of the Arabic language.
“Such racist laws should have no place in today’s world,” the Pakistan envoy said, adding, “Historical facts cannot be re-written by legislative fiat.”
The controversial Israeli bill, which passed narrowly, also states that only Jews have the right of self-determination in Israel.
The law also revokes Arabic of its status as an official language alongside Hebrew. Arabs comprise about 20 percent of Israel’s nine million population.
“We reject any attempts to diminish the legal standing of the Palestinians or to deprive them of their legitimate rights within their homeland,” Ambassador Lodhi told the Security Council.
About the grave situation in Gaza, the Pakistani envoy said essential medication services in Gaza are on the verge of a complete shutdown due to Israel’s prohibition on fuel imports, which place the lives of thousands at risk.
Noting that some have called for all sides to exercise restraint, she said that the issue is a struggle between an occupied people and an occupying Power.
‘Glossing over this incontrovertible reality would be tantamount to drawing moral equivalence between the acts of the aggressor and the aggrieved,’ she pointed out.
The Security Council, she said, cannot continue to avoid its obligations under resolution 242 and at least 80 successor resolutions on the Middle East question to enforce a just solution to this conflict.
Ambassador Lodhi said recent Security Council inaction on the question of Palestine has led the General Assembly to take a more proactive role in order to fill the void, citing the adoption of the resolution by its emergency session on June 13.
Warning that that Middle East stands at a dangerous crossroads, the Pakistani envoy said, “As existing conflicts have intensified and new threats have emerged, the imperative of diplomatic solutions is more urgent than ever before.” NNI