A joint online panel by Turkish and Pakistani NGOs discussed on Saturday the latest Israeli offensive against residents of the Gaza Strip.
The Israeli Aggression in Gaza and the Plight of the Palestinians panel was organized by Istanbul-based ILKE Foundation for Science Culture and Education and the Islamabad-based Institute of Policy Studies think-tank.
Panelists from three countries included Palestinian-American author and journalist Ramzy Baroud, Pakistani politician Mushahid Hussain Syed and Chairman of Institute of Policy Studies Khalid Rahman. The discussion was moderated by Istanbul-based academician and researcher Ahsan Shafiq from the ILKE Foundation.
"I have lately been writing articles for some magazines and newspapers in Pakistan and I was told to make a case why Pakistan should not be normalizing with Israel," according to Baroud, who noted US pressure on different countries, including Pakistan, to recognize Israel.
He thanked Pakistan for not recognizing Israel despite intense pressure and asserted that Palestine is not just an issue for Muslims but Muslims are the core to the place.
Pragmatic steps to lift blockade in Gaza
Syed said Israel should be tried for committing war crimes against humanity for what it has done as he highlighted the importance of pragmatic steps to end the plight of Palestinian Muslims and lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip, especially by sending humanitarian aid through a joint flotilla with several countries.
Touching on Pakistan’s policy with Israel, he said: "Its policy on Israel has not been enunciated by any party or any government, but the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, popular as Quaid-e-Azam, or the great leader."
Pakistan was the only non-Arab Muslim country whose pilots went and fought against Israel in two Arab-Israel wars, he said.
He praised Turkey’s president for taking the lead. "President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shown guts and vision and Pakistan has also joined hands with Turkey."
"I would also like to salute the leadership of Hamas which has taken a very strong position and for firing 3,000 plus rockets despite relentless aerial bombing by Israel," he said.
On Friday, an Egyptian brokered cease-fire between Palestinian resistance groups and Israel took effect, putting an end to 11 days of fighting.
At least 279 Palestinians have been killed, including 69 children and 40 women, and 1,910 others injured in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Twelve Israelis have also been killed by Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.