Published On: Tue, Aug 12th, 2014

Meeting with the Ambassador of Palestine

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

Being in Pakistan after my last visit in October 2009 and my longest ever stay since 1990, all have been an experience in human endurance. The weather was hot and it was my first Ramadan in Pakistan during all these years. Ramadan sets in a new timing and behaviour of work. The most difficult part of my stay was to make the choices in my engagements towards the last two days of my stay. It entailed declining many meetings or visits and seeking a spiritual guidance to make the right choice. I decided to give priority to my scheduled meeting with H.E. Mr. Walid Abu Ali Ambassador of the State of Palestine and went to meet him on Friday on 8 August 2014.

I had met him at the earlier Round Table on Gaza on 19 July 2014 organized by Nazriya Pakistan Council (NPC) at the Aiwan-i-Quaid in Islamabad to express solidarity with the hapless Palestinians put under brutal Israeli attack. After formal greetings the Ambassador expressed his concern that the ceasefire agreed between the two sides has just come to an end and Gaza people would have come under the resumed Israeli attack, with a strong aerial, ground and naval bombardment. He made a bitter explanation that a community (Jews) that lived as a minority in Palestine at one point has evicted them from their land and is occupying the part of the remainder by force. So far as on 3 August 2014 the death toll has reached 1803 while as 9324 were badly injured.

The attack had damaged 17 hospitals, 7 clinics, 10 hospitals and 44 primary health clinics were closed, 22 ambulances were damaged, 83 health personnel injured and 19 brave health personnel had died in the course of duty. Israel spares nothing. Ambassador Ali said that Palestinians are victims of three ‘U’s, namely the United Nations, the USA and the United Kingdom. He added that Palestinians have nothing against Judaism but it is the Zionism that remains at the core of turmoil in the region and Zionists are in charge of the war machinery. The two ‘M’s, Media and Money have been used by Zionists to eclipse the visibility of Palestinian tragedy and the violation of humanitarian law, human rights and duties during occupation and in war by the Israeli state go unnoticed. A well prepared senior diplomat of the State of Palestine may have looked grim but he had no doubt that if it is not his generation, he is sure that his children or their children would one day defeat the Israel and reclaim the land of their forefathers.

It was sad to note that Israel has waged a war against all norms of human dignity and elementary standards of civic responsibility that they allow 5-6 seriously injured or patients to go for treatment outside Gaza. The control and rationing of medical facility seems to be the first of its kind introduced by Israel in the present day world. Gaza is 40×10 kilometres in size and inhabits 1.8 million people. It makes the people an easy target practice for Israeli attack and 82 percent victims are the civilians. Palestinians do not hit any civil population as falsely claimed by Israel. No single Israeli civilian has been hit so far. It is iniquitous to equate the world’s most sophisticated army, armed by US with the modern lethal weaponry to kill and destroy with a Palestinian who wish to undo the 7 years occupation by the use of a handmade device. Palestinians have no air force, no navy and no military of the manner trained to match Israeli defence machinery. They have faith and hope. Palestinian ambassador stressed that Israel’s suggestion that Israel has an issue with Hamas is misleading the world. In fact Israel has an issue with all the Palestinians and he quoted the speech of Pakistan’s first Foreign Minister Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan made at the UN Security Council on 28 November 1947 on the wrong done to the people of Palestine. Israel was committing a crime against all Palestinians. Israel was engaged in a policy to kill, arrest, destroy and change the geography in the region.

Explaining the nature of the crimes committed against the Palestinians, the ambassador stated that Israel army forces civilians to vacate their houses and destroys them. At the same time Israelis know that the people and children would have taken shelter in UN manned schools and shelters and does not hesitate to target these places of refuge under international guarantee which no civilised nation in the world has ever done or would ever do. Palestinians are under attack from the night of 7 July 2014 and have continued to challenge the military might of Israel. The Palestinian delegation has submitted their demands to Egypt in order to stop the Israeli aggression. They want an immediate ceasefire and withdrawal from the Gaza strip. They want a halt to Israeli incursions and an assurance that there are no more incursions, assassinations, bombing of their homes and a stop of Israeli flights over Gaza. Palestinians want an end to the siege imposed on Gaza strip and honour the understanding reached in 2012, that is, opening the six crossing points and to ensure the freedom of movement of people and goods and the freedom of bringing into Gaza all reconstruction materials. Demand an end to the economic and financial blockade. Freedom of movement in and out of Gaza and to maintain a safe link between West Bank and Gaza.

Freedom of work and freedom to fish in Palestinian territorial waters in the seas of Gaza to a distance of 12 miles. They want the restart of Gaza airport and the construction of a seaport. The demands include that all the buffer zones imposed by Israel on the Gaza border should be cancelled. Palestinians demand the end to all sanctions imposed by Israel against the people of West Bank after 12 June 2014. It includes the release of prisoners and the Legislative Council Members and the fourth batch of prisoners detained before Oslo accord and reopen institutions. Palestinians want the reconstruction of Gaza Strip through a government of national consensus in partnership with the United Nations and the provision of all required relief, including food, pharmaceuticals, water and electricity. It also suggests an International Conference of donor countries chaired by Norway and with the participation of Europe and the Arab countries, United States, Japan, Islamic countries, Russia, China and rest of the member states, in order to provide the money needed for reconstruction according to a specific timetable. It is high time that the world conscience moves into Gaza and stands to oppose the violation of humanitarian law, law of war and human rights. Countries that harp on ‘genuine concerns of Israeli security’ and ignore the principle of justice and proportionality separating the Israel as a war machine and the Gaza youth with handmade undeliverable hand grenades are making a bad decision for political considerations. Palestinians are the victims of a world conspiracy causing the loss of their land and now left at the mercy of Israeli target practice.

The discussion was interrupted by the service of green tea, decorating the author with Palestinian Flag at the Embassy of the State of Palestine and the various gifts including in particular Palestinian coin with Arabic, Hebrew and English inscription. It so happened that I was sitting under the full gaze of (portrait) late chairman PLO Yasser Arafat, regarded as Quaid-e-Azam of the People of Palestine.

I have promised the Ambassador that JKCHR would submit a document to the UN Secretary General on Gaza under Resolution 1996/31 to be circulated as a General Assembly document at the 21st session of Human Rights Council starting from 10-28 September 2014. This would be my first prioritised engagement after arriving in London. I can say with confidence that H.E. Mr. Walid Abu Ali-Ambassador of the State of Palestine in Islamabad is a senior diplomat of enormous humane qualities and leaves a sobering impact on his guest.

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