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D-8 calls for cessation of Gaza genocide

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ISLAMABAD: The D-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation, an alliance of developing nations of Turkiye, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria and Indonesia, on Saturday demanded full Palestinian membership of the United Nations and greater international pressure on Israel for ceasefire amid the Gaza war.

Calling for an immediate ceasefire, foreign ministers from the group at an extraordinary meeting in Istanbul asked the United States to lift its veto on full Palestinian UN membership and on all countries to “exert diplomatic, political, economic and legal pressure” on Israel.

Denouncing an “ongoing genocide and grave violations of international law”, the group demanded an end to arms and ammunition deliveries to Israel and that all measures be taken to protect Palestinian civilians, rejecting any attempted forced displacement. They advocated a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital and a guarantee mechanism to protect a future settlement

While addressing the meeting of the D-8 Council of Foreign Ministers, Pakistan’s deputy prime minister and foreign minister Ishaq Dar strongly condemned the use of hunger and starvation as a weapon of war by the Israeli forces and urged the international community to take action to stop this collective punishment unleashed on the Palestinians and help ensuring immediate ceasefire and unimpeded flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“Recent attacks by Israeli settlers on aid convoys as well as seizure of Rafah border crossing with Egypt amounts to deliberate blocking of humanitarian supplies with a clear intent to starve the civilian population,” Dar said.

Israeli forces were “systematically bombing hospitals and vital infrastructure to target the very existence of Palestinians”, he said, adding that only 12 of Gaza’s 36 hospitals were barely functional according to WHO.

He said the world was witnessing one of the worst massacres of present times, being perpetrated by Israeli occupation forces in total disregard of the international law, world opinion and ICJ orders. He demanded the international community must act to ensure implementation on the ICJ orders.

“We call for the total withdrawal of Israel from all occupied Arab territories, restitution of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, including their right of return to Palestine, and the establishment of an independent homeland for the Palestinians with pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital.”

The D-8 must use its political as well as economic leverage at all the relevant international fora to end the suffering of the Palestinians people, he said. “Through the D-8 platform we may coordinate humanitarian assistance for the people of Gaza, and play a role in the rebuilding efforts once the aggression ends,” he added.

He said this timely gathering of foreign ministers of eight important Muslim countries must send a strong message of support to the Palestinian people. It must also lead the call, and campaign for concerted and immediate international action to halt Israeli aggression and open all channels of humanitarian assistance to the besieged people of Gaza.