The Global and Regional Studies Center organized a seminar on “The Israeli invasion of Gaza, the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe, its ramifications for the Peace and Security in the Middle east and policy options for Pakistan ” on Saturday, May 22, 2021. Eminent foreign policy experts which included Ambassadors Najmuddin A. Sheikh, and Mustafa Kamal Qazi were the panelists while Ambassador G Rasool Baluch was the moderator. In his opening remarks Ambassador Baluch stated that, since the current crises is connected to complex Middle East Question which has many dimensions, however during discussions an attempt will be made to understand the following five dimensions of the issue. The causes of the latest Israeli invasion. Why the recently concluded Abraham Accords did not achieve the objective of finding solutions for the lasting peace between Israel and Palestinians. Reasons for continued US inability to device a balanced policy regarding Palestinian question. The response of the world in general and of the Muslim/Arab world in particular to the Israeli aggression. Policy options for Pakistan.
There was a consensus that the present escalation of violence sparked by forced eviction by Israeli authorities, of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem and some other Israeli towns where Palestinians have been living for decades is a reminder to the world community that the Palestine issue remains a tinderbox for peace in the Middle East. The intense firing by Israel has resulted in 240 civilian casualties including over 60 children and the destruction of thousands of homes, several hospitals, and schools. The Israeli aggression and forced evictions have been termed apartheid and persecution by Amnesty International. The mob attacks on Arab residents of the mixed Israeli neighborhoods is a new brutal dimension of Israeli oppressive policies against Palestinians the experts further opined. It was underlined that the military jets pounding civilian compounds cannot be justified by any stretch of the imagination to be in “self-defense” by the Israeli state. The travesty of the Israeli judicial system is disappointing as they have issued orders of eviction for decades-old residents violating internationally recognized legal dictum of the historical claim.
The International Community in general and the Muslim/ Arab countries, in particular, did not demonstrate sufficient exigency to bring an early end to the crisis so that precious lives could be saved and hundreds of millions of material loss could be prevented. However, the panelists appreciated the constructive role played by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Imran Khan for bringing about a ceasefire and finding a just solution based on Two states solution. In the conclusion, the panelists emphasized the need to find a just and sustainable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem so that the two communities can live in peace and prosperity.