ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s permanent representative to the United Nations on Wednesday urged world powers to halt Israel’s “slaughter” in Gaza and ensure an immediate ceasefire to put an end to hostilities in the Middle East.
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, Israel has killed at least 5,791 Palestinians, including women and children, since October 7 in what it claimed to be a retaliation to a surprise attack launched by Hamas.
Israel has amassed troops and tanks near the fenced border in Gaza, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened a massive ground invasion in a televised statement on Wednesday.
UN agencies and other relief organizations have cautioned that Israel’s blockade of the Palestinian territory could lead to outbreaks of cholera and other deadly infectious diseases unless urgent humanitarian aid is delivered.
“We must first take actions to stop this slaughter with a ceasefire and make sure to provide humanitarian supplies which are required [such as] food, fuel, water and electricity,” Ambassador Munir Akram told Arab News in an exclusive interview from New York via Zoom.
He said the world must help Palestinians at this crucial time because their survival was at stake.
He also warned that if the situation in Gaza was ignored, “more Israeli atrocities” would follow.
“We have to reject the possibility that Israel will expel these Gazans into either Egypt or the Sinai or somewhere out of Gaza and have to stop that from happening,” Akram continued. “Because if they do this in Gaza, next they will do it in the West Bank, and they will throw out the rest of the Palestinians and claim the territory.”
The Pakistan representative at the UN said after a ceasefire took place and current hostilities ended, negotiations could take place for a two-state solution.
He noted that Pakistan was the first country that had raised its voice for three immediate actions at the UN Security Council by calling for a ceasefire, provision of humanitarian access and corridor in Gaza and a rejection of any Palestinian displacement either within the besieged territory or outside of it.
“This was in our first statement in the Security Council, and this position has now become the official position of the OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] and of the Arab group,” he added.
Akram said the UN Security Council was unable to broker a ceasefire due to Washington’s move to veto a resolution moved by the council last Wednesday. The resolution called for a pause in fighting to allow humanitarian assistance in Gaza.
The UN General Assembly is expected to meet today, Thursday, to discuss the ongoing hostilities in the Middle East.
“The Security Council is likely to continue to be paralyzed with regard to immediate actions due to the US veto and, therefore, we will need to look to the General Assembly on Thursday for action on this,” he said.
“Pakistan has played a leading role and we will continue to play a leading role in addressing this unfortunate and tragic conflict,” he continued.
The Pakistani diplomat said peace between the two sides seemed to be a “remote” possibility due to Israel’s bombardment of civilian populations.
“With children slaughtered in this kind of barbaric bombardment that is being conducted in civilian settings, it is very difficult to see how we can sit around and find a durable peace in these circumstances,” he said.
Akram also ruled out the possibility of more Islamic countries extending diplomatic recognition to Israel in the foreseeable future due to the ongoing bombing of Gaza.