Palestine solution imperative for regional peace – Maleeha

New York, 15 November, 2018

At the UN, Pakistan called for a resolution of the Palestinian dispute, describing it as an imperative for regional peace and stability.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi said that the “lack of progress on the Palestinian issue had not only betrayed the hopes and aspirations of generations, but had also sowed the seeds of endless hostility and discord in the region.”

She was speaking in the Fourth Committee of the General Assembly on the Report of the Special Committee on Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people.

Ambassador Lodhi described the report as a sad but familiar chronicle of a heart-wrenching and unacceptable situation.

She said that the “unending tale of pain and suffering of the Palestinian people” is the result of an illegal and oppressive occupation that has already lasted a lifetime.

“The right to life of ordinary Palestinians is threatened at every turn” said Ambassador Lodhi, and “the very act of survival is a daily ordeal for the Palestinians”.

Referring to the grim situation in Gaza where more than 2 million people had been besieged for the past twelve years, Ambassador Lodhi said that the people of Gaza had long crossed the ‘livability’ threshold.

“Due to illegal import restrictions essential services such as health and access to drinking water are at a breaking point”, she added.

Ambassador Lodhi also referred to the current tensions on the ground sparked by the recent raid and bombing by Israeli forces in Gaza and said that the mounting death toll since the beginning of peaceful protests in March 2018 defied imagination.

Sharply criticizing the systematic expansion of Israeli settlements in blatant disregard of several Security Council resolutions, the Pakistani envoy pointed out that there was nothing random about this policy.

It was, she maintained, “a calculated and deliberate process of slowly disintegrating an entire people and eventually eroding the possibility of a two-state solution.”

Ambassador Lodhi also highlighted the financial constraints faced by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the entity looking after over five million Palestinian refugees.

Ensuring sustainability of its critical activities, including education, health and social services, was critical, she stressed.

Expressing Pakistan’s unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people, Ambassador Lodhi told the Committee that Pakistan had made an additional contribution to UNRWA this year.

It was heartening, she noted, that both traditional and new donors had stepped up their contributions to meet the financing gap left by the withdrawal of a major donor.

“Through their generous support, the international community has not only helped to bridge the existing resource gap, it has also given a vote of confidence to UNRWA’s role as a beacon of hope for Palestinian refugee communities across the region”, she added.