PM Imran Khan foresees imminent victory for Palestinians with shift in public opinion

PM Imran Khan foresees imminent victory for Palestinians with shift in public opinion

Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the nation regarding the ongoing crisis Palestinians are facing, in Islamabad, on May 21, 2021. — Geo News screengrab

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that he foresees victory for Palestinians in their struggle for self determination with the power of social media and how it has now begun to change public opinion the world over.

“We now have the power of the social media. The public opinion is shifting [in favour of Palestinians],” he said, in a video message broadcast on television.

He paid tribute to the nation for raising their voices for the Palestinian cause in protests today and the way they called out the oppression Palestinians are facing.

“Ever since Israel was created, Pakistan always had the same stance in line with our leader Quaid-e-Azam, that is was a gross injustice towards Palestinians,” he said.

He said Pakistan had always stood side by side with Palestinians.

“I was at Masjid-e-Nabvi when I found out that when people were praying on the night of the 27th [of Ramadan, at Al-Aqsa mosque], the Israeli police attacked them,” said the prime minister, adding that he also learnt, regrettably, of how Palestinians are being evicted from their homes.

The prime minister also spoke of the bombardment on Gaza by the Israeli military — which he referred to as one of the most powerful forces in the world — that has lead to dozens of children being killed.

He said that the very next day, he met with the secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and urged him to raise the issue via the platform and also stressed on the need for the matter to be highlighted at the United Nations.

“When I came to Pakistan, I also spoke to King Salman about the oppression Palestinians are facing and about what happened at Al-Aqsa, and how we need to raise our voices for this.

“The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, called me and he said the same thing, and so did Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad,” PM Imran Khan said.

He said that he then spoke to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas and told him the entire Muslim world, and all those countries that advocate for justice, stand with the Palestinians.

PM Imran Khan said he tasked Minister for Foreign Affairs Shah Mahmood Qureshi with raising the issue at the United Nations and the OIC “and he did very well to highlight it”.

“I am witnessing a very welcoming sign, which is, that the world’s public opinion is shifting,” he said, adding that he had never before seen any criticism coming from the Western quarters, in their media, newspapers, or from their politicians, in the past when Israeli oppression against Palestinians would continue unbated.

“Instead it would be made to appear as if Israel is being subjected to cruelty,” he said.

PM Imran Khan said it is for the first time now that Western media, newspapers and politicians have begun criticising Israel.

“A big reason for this is social media. If the main media censors it, social media is now a force to be reckoned with. And with this I see that the world’s public opinion is shifting,” he said.

The prime minister drew a parallel with the South African regime 30 years ago that would discriminate on ethnic grounds and did not consider Africans and Asians as equal citizens. The world’s leading powers supported the regime, he said, but later, when the public opinion changed, global powers joined hands to pressure South Africa to give all citizens equal rights.

He said he foresees the same happening with Palestine, where there will be public pressure on Israel to grant Palestinians their rights.

“InshaAllah the day will come when Palestinians will get their own country, a just settlement, and will live as equal citizens. We pray that day comes soon,” the premier said.

Al-Aqsa stormed once again

PM Imran Khan’s video message came as even after a truce declared between Israel and Palestinians groups, Israeli forces stormed the compound of Al-Aqsa mosque after Friday prayers, much like they had on May 10 when the violence had first escalated.

Israeli forces launched tear gas shells and fire rubber bullets at worshipers who had stayed back after Friday prayers to celebrate the truce.

At least 20 have been reported injured in the clashes.

Israel-Hamas ceasefire comes into force

A highly anticipated ceasefire between Israel and Hamas that runs the Palestinian Gaza Strip officially came into force early Friday at 2:00am (2300GMT Thursday).

Only celebratory gunfire was heard on Gaza streets, AFP journalists said, as truce came into effect three hours after the decision was made by Netanyahu’s cabinet.

Israel had announced a ceasefire to bring to a close an 11-day military operation in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office had issued a statement on Thursday that said his Security Cabinet has unilaterally approved the ceasefire proposal put forward by Egypt.

“The political leaders emphasised that the reality on the ground will be that which determines the future of the campaign,” the statement said.

The Egyptian-mediated decision came as the Israeli premier was under increased pressure from the US to halt the offensive.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad also confirmed the ceasefire in statements.

“This is the euphoria of victory,” said Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas figure, in front of a crowd of thousands of Palestinians who had gathered in the streets to celebrate.

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