President Mamnoon Hussain on Monday said peace in Middle East would remain elusive without the resolution of the Palestine issue and called upon the international community to play its role in finding a just solution in light of the UN resolutions to the long-standing problem.
"Two states [Palestine and Israel], living side by side in peace and security is the goal that we ought to pursue," the President said in his address at the 5th Extraordinary Session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Palestine and Al-Quds (Jerusalem), held here in the Indonesian capital. The OIC summit titled "United for just solution" hosted by Indonesia at the request of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, gathered heads of state and representatives from 49 Muslim countries to find a solution to the Palestine issue and voice concern over the growing Israeli atrocities.
President Mamnoon, who made his speech in national language Urdu at the international forum, spoke categorically about the "apartheid policies" of Israel. He mentioned Israel's use of excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force against unarmed innocent Palestinians and building settlements in the West Bank, terming these as blatant violation of international law and UN resolutions.
"All Israeli measures including settlements, separation wall, excavation beneath the Al-Aqsa mosque and evictions of Palestinians from their homes, which could change the situation on ground till a resettlement is reached, must stop," he said. The President said that Pakistan was in support of direct negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians, however stressed that the talks should be based on internationally-agreed parameters, with clear benchmarks and timelines.
"While Israel does not seem to abide by these principles, we fully support the Palestinian bid to internationalize the issue to bring more international force on the issue," he said. President Mamnoon said the government and the people of Pakistan considered the issue of Palestine as their own and reassured their Palestinian brethren for a continued and unequivocal support to their cause.
He reiterated Pakistan's stance for a complete withdrawal of Israel from occupied Arab territories, the resolution of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to exercise self-determination and sovereignty in an independent and viable State of Palestine, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders with Al-Quds Sharif as its capital. He also called for a just resolution to the plight of Palestinian refugees in accordance with General Assembly Resolution 194(III) of December 11, 1948 and implementation of all Security Council resolutions including Resolution 1860. He also emphasized on release of Palestinian detainees and restoration of religious freedom.
He said the Ummah was faced with a multitude of challenges and problems with Muslims being discriminated against and excluded from global mainstream. He mentioned that instability and bloodshed had afflicted the Muslim world as never before. He regretted that the Muslim world was far from realizing the common causes most notably in support of the Palestinian and other Muslim population such as in Jammu and Kashmir that remained under foreign occupation. The President said holding of conference was important at a time when Palestinians were amidst a new wave of violence with scores of Palestinians been killed by Israel in recent months.
He recalled the genocide carried out by Israel in Gaza in 2014 and regretted that the world kept watching the killing of Palestinian men, women and children. Indonesian President Joko Widodo said OIC was established following the occupation of Al-Quds in 1969 and stressed that the organization needed to enforce its effective role in resolution of this long-standing issue. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said the Israeli operation was the violation of international and human rights. He said it was the time to end the longest occupation in the history and Palestine be made an independent state with Al-Quds as its capital. Secretary General OIC Iyad Ameen Madani called for enhancing the efforts for resolution of Palestine issue and for providing assistance to address the social and healthcare needs of Palestinians.