Project Reports

FIRST SESSION - Report of Seminar on Palestine Conflict: Obliteration of Human Rights


Research based think tank; “MUSLIM Institute”, in collaboration with, “World Muslim Congress”, organized a Seminar; “Palestine Conflict: Obliteration of Human Rights” on Monday, 11th August 2014, at Islamabad Club, Islamabad. Renowned national and international politicians, scholars, diplomats, dignitaries and luminaries participated in this Seminar. The event was attended by foreign delegates, intellectuals, researchers, politicians, parliamentarians, academicians, students and journalists. Renowned TV Anchor Mr. Faisal Rehman moderated the proceeding of first Session. The Seminar consisted of two sessions; below is the report of the first session.

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Opening Remarks
Sahibzada Sultan Ahmad Ali
Chairman MUSLIM Institute

On behalf of MUSLIM Institute and The World Muslim Congress, I welcome all distinguished guest in today’s event. We were planning to conduct a two day conference on Palestine later this year for an academic debate but due to the current emergency situation of Gaza, and to voice and express our solidarity with the Muslims of Gaza, we decided to organize this seminar on urgent basis. Today Gaza exemplifies an open air prison due to an Israeli siege which itself is a colossal human rights violation and crisis since in Gaza, on average, four Palestinians live per square meter. Moreover, Israeli F-16 jets are continuously bombing such a dense area resulting in massive casualties. This crisis of Palestine dates back to more than a century to which Iqbal and Quaid also raised their voice and for the same insight, Institute has published selected statements of Quaid-i-Azam regarding issue of Palestine. Iqbal wrote for Palestinians:

زمانہ اب بھی نہیں جس کے سوز سے فارغ      میں جانتا ہوں وہ آتش ترے وجود میں ہے
ترِی دوا نہ جنیوا میں ہے نہ لندن میں                فرنگ کی رگِ جاں پنجہ یہود میں ہے
سنا ہے میں نے غلامی سے امتوں کی نجات      خودی کی پرورش اور لذتِ نمود میں ہے
 
(I know the fire that burns throughout your frame, The lands of world still fear its scorching flame.)
(Your cure in Geneva or London you canʹt trace, Wind-pipe of Franks is gripped by Jewish race.)
(I know that subject nations freedom gain, If they would nourish self, display its main.)
 

Many countries have condemned the Israeli barbarity and the boycott of Israel by South Africa and Latin American countries is appreciable. Sane voices rising in western countries for severing or at least restricting diplomatic, economic and defense ties with Israel to build pressure on Israel and help to Palestinians is also very appreciable. It is our moral, social and religious obligation to stand for oppressed children, women and innocent people of Palestine. All the Muslim countries should unite and raise the voice on the issue and we should raise voice in our individual capacity as well and spread awareness and motivate others regarding this crisis.

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Presentation: Overview of Palestine Issue & Current Crisis in Gaza
Mr Usman Hasan
Research Associate MUSLIM Institute

In 1897 “World Zionist Organization” sought to establish a Jewish Homeland in Palestine, when Palestine had a mere 4% population of Jews. Caliph of Ottoman Empire Abdul Hamid 2 declined the offer of 150 million pounds sterling in gold by Zionists for this purpose. After his era, the settlements of Jews started in Palestine which had the support of the British and other Western powers. During World War2, the persecution of Jews in Europe was illegally compensated by giving them land in Palestine. After frequent and numerous clashes between Muslims and Jews, UN presented a partition plan with 56% land for Jews who were one third of total population of Palestine; the formula was rejected by Arab Muslims. State of Israel was declared after departure of Britain in 1948 and thus war erupted between Israel and neighboring Arab countries, which led to Israel occupying more areas which were declared for Muslims. Afterwards Israel occupied further Palestinian territories illegally; UNSC passed a resolution in 1967 asking Israel to leave the occupied Palestinian territories and go back to prior 1967 war borders which has yet to be implemented.

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Israel has attacked Gaza frequently; and in the recent offensive, around two thousand people have been killed and more than 10,000 injured, with heavy loss of infrastructure. Since Israel is backed by major World powers, the reaction of international community has been meek.

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Special Remarks
His Excellency Elshafie Mohamed Ahmed
Ambassador of Sudan to Pakistan

Question of Palestine is in heart of every Muslim and human being who feels humanity. We Muslims who are suffering have to act in the right way. The Palestine problem was created at the same time of Kashmir. Up to now how much forward we have gone for these issues? Israel has support from USA, European countries, some Asian countries and even some Arab countries. This is the time to wake up and get united for the sake of Palestine, Kashmir and all Muslims and raise the voice which is only possible by following Islamic teachings. If there is one demonstration in London or New York, people say okay some change will take place but when we have demonstrations in Muslim countries no one cares about it. We have to be stronger in our deeds and in our beliefs. In top universities of the world there is no Islamic University. We need to focus on education and technology because without education and technology, strong economy, army, people, country is not possible. Israel has very small population as compared to Arabs but it is spending more than them for research and development. We not only need condemnation and shouting for Israeli barbarity but also condemning the countries that are supporting Israel. Since last sixty years, we are reacting, now we need to act.

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Special Remarks via video link
Mr David Shoebridge
Green Member of New South Wales Parliament, Australia

Viable two state solution is skipping further and further from reach. Israel is having more and more illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Australian society is supporting the Palestinian people. Australia has multicultural society where people tolerate each other. But since the last few weeks we are watching protests for the support of Palestinian people. People are demanding a just solution of the issue. Gaza is the world’s largest prison and no doubt the reason of the ongoing conflict is blockade of Gaza and continued denial by Israel for the self-determination of the Palestinian people. Blockade of Gaza on the name of making Israel more secure is not only illegal under international law but it is ongoing fact of destroying the jobs and economic development in Gaza.

Today Australian govt. like other many governments of west has refused to take stand against Israeli military actions in Gaza. 2000 Palestinian lives have been lost including a tragic number of children. Roads, water supply, hospitals have been destroyed by the Israeli invasion. Hundreds of thousands are in UN shelters and schools. This is not a war between equal sides, Israel has the world’s fifth largest military and people of occupied Palestine are oppressed. If Australia is a real friend of Israel, we should give strong message that this ongoing bombardment, invasion of Gaza, occupation on Palestinian territories, building settlements, and blockade are unacceptable. For Malaysian plane incident, Australia was proactive asking international community to react but for Gaza, the Australian government like USA government has ignored the human rights abuses and the illegality of invasion. World opinion is turning in support of Palestinian people. Any sustainable and peace truce between Israel and Palestine in Gaza must include an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and immediate end to blockade of Gaza. International community must support UN enquiry on war crimes in recent conflict in Gaza. Australian civil society is showing solidarity with Palestinian people.

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Unresolved Question of Palestine & Response of International Community
Ambassador (R) Khalid Mehmood
Chairman Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad

In recent Israeli aggression on Gaza; infrastructure, schools, hospitals, mosques, water supply has been destroyed. Physical destruction is estimated about five billion dollars. Palestine is under Israeli occupation and people under occupation have all the right to resist especially when there are very clear UNSC resolutions that demand Israeli troops to leave occupied territories and all the Palestinian refugees have right to return to their homes or get the compensation. Israeli settlements and change in the character of East Jerusalem is illegal. The Israeli acts are against the 1949 Geneva Convention which ensures to protect the civilians during the war. Israel is violating international laws and committing crimes against humanity. UNSC resolutions 242 & 338 say vacation of occupied territories by Israel to borders of 1967, return of the refugees, stopping the settlement and no change in character of Jerusalem. UNSC is also not playing its due role for solution of the issue.

Siege of Gaza and restrictions by Israel are leading to a situation of pressure cooker which is meant to explode. International community is showing double standards and not restricting Israel from crimes and charging it for war crimes. I hope conscience of International community will be jolted. The silence of Muslim world on this issue is not understandable. As Martin Luther King said, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”. Pakistan has raised its voice and concerns over the issue and PM has announced relief funds for Palestinians.

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Special Remarks
His Excellency Muhammad Rashed Daureeawo
High commissioner of Mauritius to Pakistan

Nobody can be indifferent from what is happening in Gaza. That is called War which is between two armies but in Gaza, it is not a war when one side is going with tanks, heavy artillery, jet planes and other side is using handmade rockets to defend themselves. We have great problem of media manipulation by the Zionists. Jews are human beings but Zionists have extreme ideology and expansionists plans.

For the Muslims of World, our big problem is of leadership. We need leadership like Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Iqbal in Muslim Ummah. Everyone who has raised the head has been quenched. Most Muslim countries are facing internal issues. UN is unable to solve the issue and has been indifferent. The current 72 hour ceasefire in Gaza should be converted into permanent ceasefire. I hope Insha’Allah we will all one day go and pray in Masjid-al-Aqsa.

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Chair of the Session
Senator Raja Zafar ul Haq
Secretary General World Muslim Congress & Leader of the House in Senate of Pakistan

I suggested at the initial time of the Israeli attack that recognition of Israel and diplomatic staff sent to it by OIC countries should be called back. Instead of Muslim countries, nine countries from South America took this initiative on humanitarian basis and thought Israel to be committing crimes against humanity. Their reaction was a shock for USA, Europe and even for Muslim countries as there was silence among Muslim leadership with exception of one or two. The Pakistani PM raised voice against genocide of Palestinians and contributed financially for Gaza. General public irrespective of religious affiliation throughout the world has demonstrated against Israeli barbarity. International media has shown real picture of Gaza despite of pressure from Israel.

After the seminar a committee should be formed to raise funds and organize relief goods and medicines for oppressed Palestinian people on emergency basis. Israeli PM has openly shown his intentions that their offensives will not be stopped by anyone and they are doing it purposefully and will not answer even to US president. Fifteen to twenty years have been spent by Israel and its friends to create a situation that there is no resistance against Israel from any quarter especially Muslim countries around Israel. We have seen this downward trend in the Muslim countries in all these years and nobody has thought of correcting it or collective action. Originally it started with the Iran-Iraq war with the, purpose to weaken Iraq and Iran. And that policy is even continuing today. It is very sad that OIC has not been able to do anything and has lost its effectiveness. Youth of Muslim world is much more committed than their earlier generations.

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Squeezing Palestine State- Implications of Palestine Issue & Current Situation of Gaza
Ambassador (R) Amir Anwar Shadani
Expert on Middle East

This is a genocidal war with one side, Israeli army, using latest warfare technology, laser guided bombs against civilian volunteer fighters of Palestinians having homemade rockets. There is history of Israeli attacks on Gaza for systematic massacre. Present attack is the most deadly and most lethal of all in which civilians; women and children have been targeted. Gaza is most populated area on earth which is under rule of Islamist government (Hamas) since 2007. Hamas of course is part of Palestinian Authority. Hamas’s main policy objective is non-recognition of Israel and return of all Palestinian refugees. Most Arab states are not supporting Palestinians since Hamas is viewed as an extension of Muslim Brotherhood. Arab media is frequently presenting Muslim brotherhood and Hamas as terrorist organizations. It is a proxy war for control and dominance in Middle East.

Israeli stated objective of attack on Gaza was of destruction of tunnels which they say are used by Palestinians to smuggle arms and to attack Israel. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, since he came into power, has closed all the crossing points between Egypt and Gaza and this includes the tunnels. This closure has contributed largely to the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. In this scenario ceasefire was proposed by Egypt which was accepted by Israel. It didn’t mention demands for end to Israeli attacks, end to the blockage of Gaza and the relief of Palestinians arrested by Israel, therefore Hamas rejected it. Iran, Turkey and Qatar are supporting Hamas. Israel has not succeeded in destroying Hamas whichs has shown continued determination and only time will determine its ultimate outcome.

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Special Remarks
Senator Sehar Kamran
Member Senate Standing Committee on Defense & Foreign Affairs, Pakistan

It is very sad to say that 82% of people killed in Gaza are civilians including 900 women and 500 hundred children. While we are condemning Israel, the number of causalities in Gaza are increasing. UN and other world organizations instead of standing against Israeli aggression, are finding reasons to justify Israeli actions. I hold UN and USA equally responsible for Gaza crisis because of supporting Israel. Human rights are being violated by Israel and social media is calling for economic sanctions on Israel but it is not happening because Israel is not a Muslim country. When it is happening is Gaza, international community is blind, dead and dead.

Palestine is in our hearts and thus Israel is attacking our hearts. We are feeling the pain but our voices are weak. Muslim world has been trapped into conspiracies and differences. When we were busy in sectarian and territorial disputes, Israel was busy in manipulating and expanding its network. In 1974, when Muslim leaders gathered in Lahore, their voice was not less than a nuclear bomb. One after the other, those leaders were assassinated to create the leadership crisis.

Pakistan came into being on ideological basis. When Muslim Ummah faces any issue, either people look towards Saudi Arabia or look toward Pakistan. We passed the resolutions for Palestinians but those pieces of papers do nothing. We didn’t boycott Israeli products neither put pressure on US and UN to take actions against Israel. Despite of natural resources and large population, Muslim countries are following dictations because we have stopped understanding and following Quran. OIC should call emergency meeting of leaders of Muslim Ummah for this issue and play effective role to get unified all the Muslim countries to have strong voice.

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Presidential Address
His Excellency Walid Abu Ali
Ambassador of Palestine to Pakistan

We wish stability and peace in Pakistan. We want a strong Pakistan to continue backing Palestine up as it has done since its creation. Israeli intentions are very dangerous to separate Gaza from West Bank. There is already no geographical link between West Bank and Gaza, and Israel is even looking to remove Palestine from map. Israel is carrying settlements and changing geography and demography of the West Bank. Real issue is Palestine, not Hamas or Al-Fatah as Palestine is much bigger than them. Israelis are bombing in Palestine but heavy attack was in Gaza and they don’t distinguish between Hamas and Al-Fatah.

Palestinians are being targeted by Israel but international community has double standards and they don’t support Palestine but support Israel when Israeli soldier is killed. President Obama and Ban Ki-moon asked Palestinians to release Israeli soldier but they didn’t ask what was Israeli soldier doing in Gaza? Why the human rights champions compare people under siege since seven years and Israeli army which has most sophisticated military equipment provided by the west. Why neighboring countries are not helping Palestinian resistance to rocket Israel? Palestine is struggling against Israeli brutality. We as Palestinians know that we are able to continue fighting but we have to have support from all our brothers and all those democracies and human rights activists all around the world.

At the end of session, seminar souvenirs were presented to the honorable guests.

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