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Is India ignoring Palestine to humour Israel?

world Updated: Jul 24, 2014 01:03 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times

Is the NDA government getting closer to Israel and leaving aside the traditional, vocal formulations on supporting the Palestine cause? The question that has been doing the rounds of the power corridors has some facts to fall back on.

To begin with, the customary lines on India’s support to the Palestine cause went missing from the President’s address to the joint session of Parliament this time. “The government was bending over backwards to please Israel. It was not even ready to have a resolution in Parliament,” CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said.

Though PM Modi spoke about India’s concerns at the crisis in West Asia and called for a negotiated settlement of the issue at the BRICS summit in Brazil, the Centre didn’t criticise Israel for “disproportionate use of force” that resulted in casualties in Gaza.

“I don’t think there is any difference in government’s stand on Israel-Palestine issue, irrespective who was in power. I will fault this government for not criticising the disproportionate use of force by Israel that resulted in the loss of many innocent civilians,” Lalit Mansingh, former foreign secretary, said. Unlike many traditional friends of Israel, including US and UK, India hasn’t so far announced any humanitarian aid for Palestine as well.

Getting the 39 Indian workers released from Iraq was also one of the reasons why the government avoided speaking against Israel, which is known to be closely watching and working on many Islamist groups in the region.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties with Israel in 1992, India has tread with caution on the Israel-Palestine conflict. In 1947, India voted against the partition of Palestine at the United Nations General Assembly. India was the first non-Arab state to recognise PLO as sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1974. It was also one of the first countries to recognise the state of Palestine in 1988.