The UN Security Council is no longer in a position to ‘fudge’ the Palestine issue: Qureshi Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has stated that the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) will no longer be able to “fudge” the Palestine issue and will be forced to make a decision.

Qureshi said in an interview aired on Turkish television channel TRT on Monday that the recent episode of Israel’s aggression on Palestine had jolted people who had been sitting on the fence into action. The interview was recorded after a 193-member emergency UN General Assembly (UNGA) meeting on the Palestine issue.

He described the global reaction as “unexpected.”

“Nobody expected the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) to be galvanised into action, the Arab League to be galvanised, the NAM (Non-Aligned Movement) to be mobilised, and it would result in a special emergency session of the general assembly,” the foreign minister said, adding that “an unprecedented session took place today.”

The session, held last week at the request of the OIC and Arab League, saw Qureshi urge the UN Security Council to issue a call for an end to Israel’s devastating violence against Palestinians in Gaza, saying “it is time to say enough.”

During his interview with TRT, he reiterated the same point.

The session will send a strong message to the Security Council that “enough is enough” and that those who believe in fundamental rights must speak out, he said. “They can no longer sit on the fence.”

When asked to elaborate on the action he desired the UNGA, UNSC, and UN Security Council to take, Qureshi said, “The first thing they need to do is get a ceasefire.”

He stated that his sole purpose for attending the UNGA meeting was to emphasize the importance of a cease-fire.

“Once that is accomplished, the rest will follow.”

A ceasefire was reached between Israel and Hamas a day after the emergency UNGA session, bringing an end to a bruising 11-day conflict that caused widespread devastation in the Gaza Strip and brought much of Israel to a halt. Egypt brokered the truce in response to mounting international pressure to stop the bloodshed that erupted on May 10.

Only hours later, Israeli police used stun grenades on Palestinians who had thrown rocks and petrol bombs at officers outside Jerusalem’s flashpoint, Al Aqsa Mosque.

Qureshi was also asked about the mention of an international protection force during his UNGA speech in his interview with TRT.

Qureshi told the interviewer that foreign ministers from OIC member states who were physically present in New York on the day would meet with UNGA President Ban Ki-moon and propose the formation of such a force.

“We will flounder the idea and discuss the modalities with the president of the general assembly,” he said.

He was also asked about his thoughts on the US being held accountable for Israel’s aggression against Palestinians, to which he replied, “The only power that they [Israel] would listen to is the US.”

The foreign minister went on to say that the US had impact over Israel and that it should be more active in convincing Israel that what it was doing was unacceptable to the rest of the world.

In response to another question, Qureshi drew parallels between the situation in Palestine and the situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

He stated that people in occupied Kashmir were demanding the right to self-determination, as were Palestinians, that people in Kashmir were crying about demographic restructuring, as were Palestinians, and that while people in Kashmir were concerned about ethnic cleansing, ethnic cleansing was taking place in Palestine.

“[The] Palestinian cause is one of the oldest on the Security Council agenda… the other, equally old, [is] Kashmir. Take a look at the similarities.”

Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Hussain Qureshi is a Pakistani politician who has served as the country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs since August 20, 2018. Since August 2018, he has served as a member of Pakistan’s National Assembly and as the Vice Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf political party.

Zainab Murtaza

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