Pakistan told the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday that the ‘two-state formula’ offers the only viable solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and the rising extremism in Israeli leadership “must not be allowed to foreclose the two-state solution”.

Ambassador Munir Akram rejected all Israeli measures and attempts to alter the historical and legal status quo of Al Aqsa Mosque and demanded full respect for the status quo at Al Aqsa and all other holy sites in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Pakistan urged the Security Council to “act swiftly and resolutely to bring a halt to all such Israeli violations, ensure its full compliance with international law, and implement its own resolutions”.

Ambassador Akram said Pakistan was looking forward to the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal implications of Israeli occupation.

“We expect that the court’s opinion will lead to Israeli accountability for its crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory. It is a measure of Israel’s sense of impunity that it has taken punitive measures against the Palestinian authorities and people for merely seeking the court’s opinion,” he said.

Israel is incensed over a UN General Assembly resolution in late December requesting that the ICJ offer an opinion on the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and has imposed fresh sanctions on Palestinian authorities.

UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, told a special UNSC session on the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories that he was “very concerned about the impact” on the finances of the Palestinian Authority from a series of retaliatory Israeli sanctions.

The council heard a worrying assessment of the situation from a senior UN official, who informed the world body about spiralling insecurity in the occupied West Bank.

According to UN radio, Mr Wennesland described how armed exchanges between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians were creating new tensions in the region. He said that between Dec 8 and Jan 13, at least 14 Palestinians were killed — including five children — “during demonstrations, clashes, search-and-arrest operations, attacks and alleged attacks against Israelis”.

Israeli settlers or other civilians also perpetrated more than 60 attacks against Palestinians, resulting in injuries to 28, including six children, Mr Wennesland said.

The UN official pointed out that the areas under PNA’s control saw “a high proportion” of all casualties.

Mr Wennesland reiterated that “all perpetrators of all acts of violence must be held accountable and swiftly brought to justice”.

According to a UN statement, participants at Wednesday’s debate underscored the importance of the two-state solution and the need to avoid all measures and actions that would undermine its realisation.

Mr Wennesland told the Security Council that it was “imperative” for both Israel and Palestinians to refrain “from provocations and unilateral steps that undermine… the ability to achieve a negotiated peace”.

Ahead of its Dec 29 swearing-in, the new Israeli government declared that the Jewish people had an exclusive right to all parts of the occupied land and issued fresh eviction notices.

In Wednesday’s debate, UN Security Council members expressed concern at plans to advance settlements and stress that settlement advancement undermines the prospects for a two-state solution.

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