UNITED NATIONS - Reaffirming its strong commitment to the Palestinian cause, Pakistan on Thursday called for the implementation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions to pave the way for a sovereign state of Palestine, with Al-Quds al Sharif as its capital. Speaking in a UN Security Council debate on the Middle East situation, Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon also joined the call for Israel to freeze its illegal settlement activities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem that were creating serious implications for the Middle East peace process. Describing the situation of the Palestinians as intolerable, the Pakistan ambassador urged the 15-member council to ensure respect and implementation of its resolutions and to restore its own relevance, credibility and legitimacy by giving a serious push to resolving the Palestinian issue. The root cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the Israeli occupation of the Arab lands, he told the council. Ambassador Haroon emphasised that the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians for freedom and dignity, as well as an independent and sovereign state of their own, could not be held back any longer. The ambassador deplored the fact that the construction of the illegal separation wall continues unabated. The suffocating complex of roadblocks and permits remains in place, disrupting and adding misery to the everyday life of the Palestinian people. Thousands of Palestinians, including women and children, remain incarcerated in Israeli prisons, he said. The inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip continues, where the people are still struggling to come to terms with the destruction and tremendous human suffering recently inflicted by aggression, and for which unfortunately there is yet no accountability. Given its serious implications for the peace process, the international community is right in calling on Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth; to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001; and to refrain from provocative actions in East Jerusalem, including home demolition and evictions, the Pakistan ambassador added. He said there was a clear sense that the current state of affairs was untenable. The international community must create the conditions for the early resumption of negotiations. Little optimism was offered by political developments in the region and the continuing grave situation on the ground, but the international consensus and the call for peace were growing stronger in the new global political scenario. Haroon welcomed the priority accorded to the issue by US President Barack Obama was welcome. He said there was full recognition of the fact that a just settlement of the Palestinian question was central to ending the cycle of suspicion and discord that had undermined peace and security in the Middle East. But a transformative shift was needed in the political process and the situation on the ground, which were interdependent. The futility of using force and unilateral action was beyond doubt, and efforts to create new facts on the ground that would prejudice the outcome of negotiations were unacceptable, the Pakistan ambassador said. In addition, greater political will was required to bring the parties together in good faith and without preconditions, with the aim of achieving a comprehensive agreement within a reasonable time frame. However, he said any progress would be difficult without full implementation by the parties of their respective obligations, particularly those under the Road Map set by the diplomat quartet on the Middle East. The Council had a crucial role in supporting efforts at renewed negotiations. It was also essential to achieve parallel progress on the Israel-Syria and Israel-Lebanon fronts.