Pakistan among 100 Nations condemn Israeli provocations

NEW YORK: Pakistan, as chairman of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and over 90 countries Monday signed a statement expressing “deep concern” at Israel’s punitive measures against the Palestinian people, leadership and civil society following a UN General Assembly’s resolution calling on the world court to give an opinion on the legal consequences of the Israeli illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.
The signatories called for a reversal of the Israeli measures, saying regardless of their position on the 193-member Assembly’s landmark resolution, “we reject punitive measures in response to a request for an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).”
On December 30, the General Assembly voted 87-26 with 53 abstentions to adopt the resolution requesting an opinion from The Hague-based International Court of Justice on the legality of Israeli policies in the occupied West Bank and east Jerusalem. In retaliation, Israel announced a series of sanctions, including financial ones, on January 6 against the Palestinian Authority (PA) to make it “pay the price” for pushing for the resolution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a meeting of his Cabinet two days later that the measures against the Palestinians were aimed at what he called “an extreme anti-Israel” step at the United Nations.
The measures included stripping VIP benefits from PA officials that allowed them and their families permits to go through checkpoints that are closed to most Palestinians. Other measures included seizing tax revenues Israel collects on behalf of the PA and freezing Palestinian construction in Area C of the Occupied West Bank.
“Regardless of each country’s position on the resolution, we reject punitive measures in response to a request for an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice, and more broadly in response to a General Assembly resolution, and call for their immediate reversal,” the statement said.
Also on Monday, a spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he “notes with deep concern the recent Israeli measures against the Palestinian Authority” and that there should “be no retaliation with respect to the Palestinian Authority in relation to the International Court of Justice.”
Monday’s statement was signed by countries that voted for this resolution (Algeria, Argentina, Belgium, Ireland, Pakistan and South Africa, among others) but also by some that abstained — Japan, France and South Korea — and others that voted against, like Germany and Estonia. Palestine’s UN Ambassador Riyad Mansour hailed the statement of support, saying that “we exercised our democratic rights to go to the General Assembly in a peaceful way, a legal way, and put a question to the ICJ to seek an advisory opinion.” –Agencies
“What is amazing about that statement,” he said, is that it was signed by some countries that abstained or voted against the resolution referring the question to the court.
“But to punish people for going to the General Assembly in an adoption of a resolution is something else,” Mansour said. “That’s why they stood with us and opposed this policy of the Israeli government, and they are demanding a reversal of this decision.” A UN Security Council meeting on the Palestinian issue is scheduled for Wednesday (today).
Besides, Voicing concern over the uptick in militancy along the Pak-Afghan border, Pakistan’s UN Ambassador has warned that unless the economic situation improves in Afghanistan, the Taliban may begin to lose members to more militant groups like ISIS or ISIL.
In an interview with Newsweek, a leading American magazine, the Pakistani envoy specifically named insurgent outfits such as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), both of which have increasingly targeted Pakistani personnel and civilians, but also the regional ISIS Khorasan branch, called ISIS-K or ISIL-K, saying that sometimes these groups worked together against Pakistan’s interests.
“We have to deal with this,” Ambassador Akram said, “and we are determined to deal with this internally.” And while he said, “we’ve dealt with this in the past,” he warned that new challenges have emerged in trying to influence the Taliban-led government that taking on all of these groups was in its immediate interest.
“Now we have we have a situation in Afghanistan where the Taliban need to be convinced to deal with all of the terrorist movements not only ISIL-K, which they are fighting, but others,” Akram said. “We understand the situation, but we have to find an effective strategy of dealing with it.”
In addition to TTP and BLA, he said that other groups such as the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) comprising of militants of Uyghur descent, and Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) comprising of militants of Uzbek descent also needed to be combated. But he said such efforts on the part of the Taliban would be difficult to achieve as long as the government found short on income.
“It’s obvious that ISIL-K is becoming stronger and they’re getting money from outside,” Akram said. “If the Taliban do not have enough money, they may lose some of their factions to ISIL-K, so it’s a very disturbing situation.”