- Published on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 12:30
UNITED NATIONS - A senior Pakistani diplomat said Monday the UN Security Council's failure to hold Israel accountable for denying the Palestinian people's right to self-determination carried the risk of a conflict in the Middle East.
"The Security Council continues to evade its responsibility of maintaining international peace and security at peril to its credibility," Ambassador Raza Bashir Tarar, the acting Pakistani permanent representative to the UN, told the 15-member body.
“Flying in the face of the international community’s will, Israel continues to implement policies in defiance of international law, and work towards undermining the basis of the two-state solution," he said in a debate on the situation in the Middle East.
"Its (Israel's) efforts to redraw the map of Palestine through continuation of illegal settlement activity, continued persecution of Palestinians, and reluctance to accept the 1967 borders as the basis for negotiations, is taking the region to a state akin to a powder keg," he said in a debate on the Middle East situation.
"We reiterate that continued inaction by the international community is not an option."
The Pakistani envoy supported Palestinians’ right to self-determination, as well as the creation of an independent fact-finding mission in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. He noted that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon February visit to the region was a "timely initiative" that would help refocus international attention on the festering dispute.
Tarar condemned the April 4 announcement of new tenders for over1,100 Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem, whose mayor also announced measures that would effectively divide that city. Those actions represented major roadblocks to peace, he said.
The Middle East diplomatic Quartet - comprising the UN, European Union, Russia and the United States - had reaffirmed its commitment to all elements of its roadmap, but he said it was disconcerting that its statement focused more on the financial viability of the Palestinian Authority than on settlements as a basis for starting negotiations.
For its part, the Security Council should help create the conditions for restarting the peace process, the Pakistani envoy said, and hold Israel accountable for its defiance. Pakistan would continue to engage other Security Council members to bring the idea for a Council visit to the Occupied Territories to fruition.
He pointed out that more than 4,700 Palestinians languished in Israeli prisons and the international community should force the occupying Power to amend its ways. Israel’s blockade of Gaza was diminishing the economic prospects of that area. Still Palestine had proved it was ready to take its place among the community of nations, he said.
"The region is in turmoil, and the Arab Spring cannot and would not bloom fully without fulfilment of the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people," the Pakistani envoy said. "Benign neglect, inaction, complicity with oppression or apathy will only discredit the advocates of peace and strengthen the narrative of extremists."