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HindustanTimes Sun,21 Dec 2014

India backs Palestine in UNHRC vote on Gaza

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, July 24, 2014
First Published: 01:42 IST(24/7/2014) | Last Updated: 03:01 IST(24/7/2014)

India on Wednesday voted in support of a United Nations Human Rights Council UNHRC) resolution to launch a probe into Israel’s offensive on Gaza.

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In the 47-member council, 29 countries voted in support of the resolution while 17 nations abstained. The US was the only nation to vote against the resolution. European countries abstained.

In what seems like a flip-flop, the Indian government recently voted with its BRICS partners to censure Israel, then tried to block a debate on Gaza in Parliament, and has now voted in Palestine’s favour.

The voting came as bloodbath in the Gaza Strip continued unabated on Wednesday with Israel and Hamas refusing to back down in the 16-day conflict that has killed over 680 Palestinians and 31 Israelis.

Earlier this month, India joined BRICS nations to vote for a Palestinian-drafted resolution on “Ensuring Respect for international law in The Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jersusalem”.

PM Narendra Modi, in his address at the Brics summit in Brazil, had spoken about India’s concerns and called for a negotiated settlement on the issue.
 
The Brics had come out with a strong position against Israel in their summit declaration, which is a traditional position of the grouping.

But back in Delhi, pushed by the Opposition to side with Palestine, the government was initially averse to a debate on Gaza in Parliament. Forced into a discussion, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said there was no change in India’s position on the issue.
 
The government was seen as keeping an equal distance from both sides before it again took Palestine’s side on Wednesday.

“We remain hopeful that a sustainable ceasefire will be reached between the two sides, linked to the resumption of the peace process, for a comprehensive resolution of the Palestinian issue,” India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Asoke Mukerji said.


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