Mahmood Abbas to visit Islamabad to inaugurate newly constructed Palestinian embassy building International Community must resolve Palestine, Kashmir issue for durable world peace.
Under several decades, occupation Israel brutally exploited Palestinian people and land even the most implausibly and disrespectfully to justify its occupation by committing grave and all of the human rights violations and war crimes. In April this year, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders revealed that Israel had killed over 10,000 innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza during the war there in the summer of 2014, and said the high casualties were the result of an indiscriminate Israeli military offensive. Whereas according to Hamas health authorities in Gaza put the civilian death toll stood at 70, 000.Israel also continued following illegal and unjustified expansion agenda by constructing more and more settlements on the lands grabbed from poor and unarmed Palestinians despite the fact that article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention strictly prohibits colonization. Settlement construction, transfer of settlers, forced displacement and transfer of the Palestinian civilian population, and all other measures by Israel intended to facilitate, advance and support such actions, including its construction of the wall, directly violate this prohibition.
In a threatening move Israel has withdrawn representative from UNESCO over passage of a just resolution that kept the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls on UNESCO’s list of world heritage as they were in danger under Israeli control. The resolution was passed in a secret ballot by a vote of 10 to 2. Lebanon, Cuba, Kuwait, Tunisia, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Vietnam and Angola supported the resolution.
Ambassador of Palestine in Islamabad Walid Abu Ali is one of the most dynamic diplomats in Islamabad. He has made enormous efforts to highlight Palestinian issue in Pakistan as well as played key role in bringing people from the both the countries further closer to each other. In the backlash of prevailing situation in the Middle East with special reference to the Israeli occupational armed forces unjust atrocities on innocent Palestinian civilians, Melange International moved a request for an exclusive interview to which he graciously graced. Here are extracts of interview;
Q: Kindly give a brief historical background of Palestine issue?
Ans: The Palestinians have lived in this region for hundreds of years, but were driven to Gaza by the Israeli Army in 1948. So you can imagine that they harbor much anger and resentment. Before WWI, the Middle East region, including the Ottoman Syria (the southern part of which are regarded as Palestine, was under the control of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 400 years. Towards the end of the 19th century, most of the Jews worldwide lived outside Palestine, predominantly in eastern and central Europe, with significant communities in the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Americas. The original population of Israel was 96% Muslim and Christian, yet, these refugees are prohibited from returning to their homes in the self-described Jewish country and those within Israel are subjected to systematic discrimination.
Q: Kindly give a current synopsis of the Palestine issue?
Ans: Israel’s continued military occupation and confiscation of privately owned land in the West Bank, and control over Gaza, are extremely oppressive, with Palestinians having minimal control over their lives. Thousands of Palestinian men, women, and children are held in Israeli prisons. Few of them have had illegitimate trial; Physical abuse and torture are frequent. Palestinian borders even internal ones are controlled by Israeli forces. Periodically men, women, and children are strip searched; people are beaten; women in labor are prevented from reaching hospitals at times resulting in death; producing an escalating humanitarian crisis. Israeli forces invade almost daily, injuring, kidnapping, and sometimes killing inhabitants. According to the Oslo peace accords of 1993, these territories were supposed to finally become a Palestinian state. However, after years of Israel continuing to confiscate land and conditions steadily worsening, the Palestinian population rebelled.
Q: How would you like to comment on Pakistan’s support to Palestine issue and efforts to highlight the issue internationally?
Ans: Pakistan has been extending unconditional support to Palestinian’s just cause since ever as well as making untiring efforts to highlight the issue internationally. We are thankful to Pakistan for highlighting human rights violations in Palestine by Israeli occupational forces along with unjust atrocities on innocent Kashmiris by aggressor Indian security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir at the United Nations’ General Assembly (UNGA). We are immensely grateful to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for using word Intifada for freedom struggle of Kashmiris as the word Intifada is purely associated with the Palestinian’s movement for freedom.
Q: How the international community must evaluate the sensitivity of both Palestine and Kashmir issue?
Ans: The international community must realize that resolution of both the Palestinian and Kashmir issues is imperative for the durable peace and stability in Middle East, South Asia as well as the entire world.
Q: How do Palestinian people value Pakistan’s support to their just cause?
Ans: Palestinian people highly value the support provided by Pakistanis. Furthermore, Pakistanis have been demonstrating enormous solidarity with Palestinians in the wake of Israeli occupation and human rights violations in the occupied territories. Pakistan had always been a staunch supporter to just cause of Palestinians at almost every international forum. Presently Pakistani passport can be used for going almost all the countries of the world except Israel. I recall, a Pakistani fighter pilot Hamid Masood shot down Israeli Mirage fighter in 1974 and he is regarded as National Hero of Palestine since then.
Q: How would you like to comment on imminent visit of President of Palestine Mahmood Abbas to Pakistan?
Ans: Definitely, President Mahmood Abbas will visit to Pakistan to inaugurate newly constructed building in Islamabad. Pakistani government and people for extended generous financial assistance for the construction of the state of the art new building of embassy of Palestine. Pakistan has contributed $ 1 billion for this project. Initial concept for the new building of the embassy was approved in 1990s by late Benazir Bhutto and Yassar Arfat, however, the incumbent government of Nawaz Sharif has taken concrete measures to shape the concept into reality.
Q: How would you like to comment on educational services offered by Pakistan to Palestinian students?
Ans: Pakistan offered a large number of scholarships to Palestinian students and at present thousands of Palestinian students have been provided with scholarships by Pakistani educational institutions along with free education, boarding and lodging; therefore, after completion of their education those students are now acting like Pakistani ambassadors in Palestine.
Q: How would you like to comment on potential of Pak-Palestine business and trade cooperation?
Ans: I wish to promote bilateral trade between Pakistan and Palestine as well as to increase the number of people to people exchanges. In a bid to promote Palestinian trade goods, I may think to organize a trade expo in Pakistan. Palestine imports almost every product of daily use; therefore, Pakistani exporters and businessmen may explore avenues of business either through joint ventures or independently in Palestine as well as benefit out of huge market by exporting their products to Palestine” ambassador highlighted. Similarly, we have marble and gem stone of international standards and its import can be far cheaper as compared to the other European countries for Pakistani importers. In this way, we may enhance tune of bilateral trade between both the countries.
Q: How would you like that Muslim Ummah must react on Palestinian issue?
Ans: Muslim Ummah should keep and maintain Palestine on its top priorities as they always have been doing. The Muslim Ummah unified works through agendas and works through priorities and prioritize the issues that need continuous support the Muslim Ummah and also support Palestine emotionally and practically. Unfortunately, the Muslim Ummah, Muslim countries, and the Arab countries were busy with their internal challenges and internal affairs and each Muslim country and each Arab country has its own difficulties and they trying to, you know, resolve their own problems. Palestine has been the issue for the whole Muslim Ummah and has been the top priority of all Muslim Ummah and all Arab countries but at the moment they have limitations in what they can do.
Q: How would you like to comment on possible American role in resolution of Palestine issue?
Ans: The American administration was one of the main powers which could put pressure on Israel to stop its aggression against people in Gaza. But unfortunately when you listen to President Obama himself, publically announcing that Israel has the right to defend itself, how can you expect from United States of America to play a fair role in the situation. Moreover, all human rights institutions were on the ground in Palestine on daily basis, and witnessed the Israeli crimes against our people. Unfortunately, with the double standards, if an Israeli is hit by a Palestinian stone the whole international community stands on one leg supporting Israel. But if nineteen members of one family in Gaza are shot dead by Israeli missiles while Israeli F-16 injured 45 members of the same family, Israel has the right to defend itself.