Pakistan on Monday announced immediately dispatching humanitarian assistance to Gaza, as Israel continued to pound the densely populated territory with air strikes and was preparing for the ground offensive.
“In the wake of indiscriminate Israeli aggression and siege of the Gaza Strip, the already oppressed people of densely-populated Gaza are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance,” read a statement issued by the foreign office here.
In view of the human tragedy unfolding in Gaza, the government of Pakistan decided to immediately dispatch humanitarian relief assistance to Gaza, to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian brothers and sisters, according to the statement.
“The government is coordinating with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, relevant UN agencies, the Government of Egypt and Pakistan Missions abroad to finalise modalities of delivery,” it added.
Around 2.3 million Palestinians are facing humanitarian catastrophe as Israeli forces on one hand continued with their brutal assault and at the same time cut off water, electricity and other supplies.
Despite the announcement, it is not clear whether Pakistan would be able to send the assistance as other regional countries have been barred by Israel from doing so.
Egypt, the next door neighbour of Gaza, wants to send relief goods through Rafah Crossing in exchange for allowing American and other foreigners standard in the besieged territory. However, Israel hasn’t yet agreed to the proposal.
Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani on Sunday termed Israel’s ongoing actions against Palestinians as “genocide.”
“Certainly, Palestine is a very, very, important issue for us. We will certainly discuss the ongoing situation. There is absolutely no doubt that Israel has committed aggression,” Jilani told reporters at a news conference.
The foreign minister referred to the air strikes conducted by Israel targeting the civilian population which resulted in the death of several innocent men, women and children.
He lamented that the besieged residents of Gaza did not have access to food, water or health facilities.
“This is a situation that can be equated with genocide. Matter of fact it is a genocide being conducted by Israel against the poor people of Palestine.”
He added that Pakistan’s position was that Israel must respect United Nations resolutions which recognised the right of self-determination. “We also feel that this is also the result of seven decades of illegal occupation of Palestinian territories.”
He also said that “any attempt to equate Israel, which is an aggressor, with the Palestinian struggle, is unacceptable for Pakistan.” He said that Pakistan demanded that the Palestinian right to self-determination be respected.
He called for recognising Palestine as a separate state with pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital. “That remains Pakistan’s consistent position with regards to this particular issue,” he said.
As the Israeli ground offensive in the densely populated Gaza strip looms large, the Executive Committee of the OIC will meet in Saudi Arabia on October 18. Pakistan is part of the executive Committee and Foreign Minister Jalil Abbas Jilani will be attending the extraordinary session.