Today is a sad day.
The killings in Gaza for the past fifteen days have been taking place under the media spotlight. The collective punishment of the citizens of Gaza is being recorded live.
Innocent, non-combatant and unarmed Palestinian men, women and children are being mowed down. One quarter of those killed are children; three quarters civilians.
Death is coming to them from the sky, from waters and from land. Their chastisement is complete and definitive. Nobody can help them.
The world street is appalled and angry. It cannot believe that the UN Security Council, the most powerful nations on earth, the influential regional organizations cannot stop the carnage in Gaza.
It is not really a war because one side is mighty and well armed; and the other side ill equipped using some projectiles. The Palestinians, who do not have a standing army, are being pummeled by one of the most modern and sophisticated military machines. There is no proportionality. The asymmetry could not have been glaring.
And yet military muscle offers no solution. All sides must overcome their existential fears and build trust. The parties must stop fire and move to negotiating chambers.
We understand the complexity of the situation and the political and strategic rebalancing involved. And yet human mind cannot reconcile with the continuation of the killings that can be stopped.
This Council has acted swiftly, and decisively from time to time, on Syria, Libya, Yemen, Central African Republic, Mali and Ukraine. People all around the world wonder why on Gaza it has been able to produce only a press statement or just elements elements for the press and not a resolution.
The people of Gaza are in an open prison in the best of circumstances; now they are being killed in that prison.
Violence begets violence; and peace engenders peace. The relentless bloodshed must be stopped and peace talks initiated.
Both sides should cease fire and give diplomatic effort a chance to succeed. No initiative for ceasefire should be spurned because cessation of hostilities will save lives instantly though the trauma will haunt the region for years. Missiles and rockets should go silent. Let people start talking and listening to each other. This spiral of violence must be arrested.
Pakistan condemns continuing Israeli aggression. People in Pakistan have expressed their solidarity with the entrapped and embattled people of Gaza through protests, rallies and resolutions. Prime Minister Sharif has said that Israeli atrocities amount to genocide and he has demanded that the world must stop this aggression.
President Barack Obama has said: “We do not want to see any more civilians killed”.
International diplomacy initiated by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian leadership must be intensified.
One of the reasons for the recent escalation in violence is the collapse of the peace process. We endorse the Secretary General’s message to Israelis and Palestinians: Stop fighting; start talking; and take on the root causes of the conflict.
As we work for end to hostilities, effort must also be made to revive the peace talks. The Middle East cannot have enduring peace without a two-state solution. An independent, viable and geographically contiguous Palestinian State, on the basis of the pre-1967 borders, with Al Quds Al-Sharif as its capital, living side by side with Israel, is the only way to guarantee peace and stability in the region.
We call on the Security Council to act by adopting a resolution that would call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire, halt Israeli air, ground and naval offensive and remove Israeli forces from Gaza. The Security Council should play its role in ending the blockade of Gaza, opening its border, and release of Palestinian prisoners. As the diplomatic efforts continue, we call for humanitarian pauses to help those who are badly wounded or those stranded in temporary shelters.
Children and women of Gaza are crying out for help. This Council must listen to their screams and respond.
I thank you Mr. President.