Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Hamas have finally agreed to a ceasefire after their most recent exchange of hostilities after a UN General Assembly (UNGA) debate on Thursday. The session was convened at the behest of 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which included frantic lobbying by Pakistan and Turkey.
The Pakistan government on Friday defended remarks made by its Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in an interview with CNN, after they triggered allegations of anti-Semitism.
“Foreign Minister’s remarks made during his interview with the CNN cannot be
construed as anti-Semitic by any stretch of the imagination. Any twist given
to FM’s remarks would unfortunately prove the very point he was making,” a
Pakistan Foreign Ministry statement said.
In an interview with CNN host Bianna Golodryga, just after he addressed the UN
General Assembly (UNGA) debate on Thursday, Qureshi said that “Israel controls
the media” and had “deep pockets”.
I had planned to speak with Pakistan’s foreign minister about paths towards a peaceful resolution between Israel and Hamas. Instead, he began the interview by invoking an anti-Semitic slur. Here’s the full interview. https://t.co/W8cOsWotvq
— Bianna Golodryga (@biannagolodryga) May 20, 2021
When asked to clarify his remarks, Qureshi refused to back down even as he
tried to justify his position.
“Well, you see, the point is, they have a lot of influence, and they get a lot
of coverage,” said the Foreign Minister.
I see some people trying to defend the Pakistani foreign minister’s remarks as anti-Israeli & not anti-Semitic but let’s be clear: if you are accusing Israelis of having ‘deep pockets’ and ‘controlling’ the media, then yeah, you’re invoking some pretty anti-Semitic slurs. Sorry. https://t.co/aBKvkcDRj7
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) May 20, 2021
Earlier, during his speech at the UNGA, Qureshi called for “accountability”
for what he described as Israel’s war crimes in Gaza over the previous 11
“As we speak, people in Palestine are being killed with impunity. Death echoes
in every home in Gaza,” Qureshi said.
The Pakistan Minister offered that a coalition of troops from “willing”
nations could be constituted and deployed in Palestinian territories.
“If the Security Council cannot agree to send a protection force, a coalition
of the willing can be formed at least to provide civilian observers to monitor
accession of the hostilities,” he said.
Soon after the General Assembly debate, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu and Hamas announced a ceasefire in the 11-day conflict, which began
after militants rained down rockets on Israeli cities, prompting air force
raids by Israel inside the Palestinian territories.
Hamas’ first rocket strikes came on 10 May, three days after Israeli police
raided the compound of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. At
least 200 Palestinian worshippers were injured in the police action, which
attracted criticism from around the world.