Have taken note, says India on ICJ directions to Israel on preventing genocide | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Have taken note, says India on ICJ directions to Israel on preventing genocide

Feb 01, 2024 08:28 PM IST

The UN’s top court ordered Israel on January 26 to do everything to prevent death, destruction and acts of genocide in Gaza following a case filed by South Africa

NEW DELHI: India said on Thursday it has noted the interim ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) directing Israel to take all measures to prevent genocidal acts even as it expressed concern at allegations that staff of a United Nations agency were involved in the October 7 terror attacks.

FILE PHOTO: The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) terminated the contracts of some staff members after Israel alleged 13 employees were associated with the October 7 attacks (REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) terminated the contracts of some staff members after Israel alleged 13 employees were associated with the October 7 attacks (REUTERS)

Following a case filed by South Africa that accused Israel of genocide in Gaza, the UN’s top court ordered Israel on January 26 to do everything to prevent death, destruction and acts of genocide in Gaza. However, the ICJ stopped short of ordering an end to Israel’s military offensive that has killed more than 26,000 people and devastated Gaza.

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“We have taken note of the provisional measures that the ICJ has given a verdict on,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told a regular media briefing in response to questions.

Also Read: ICJ interim order is a signal for Israel to find a resolution, bring peace in the region

The ICJ found it plausible that Israel’s actions can amount to genocide and issued six provisional measures, including preventing and punishing incitement to genocide, ensuring aid and services reach Palestinians in Gaza, and preserving evidence of crimes committed in the enclave.

India, Jaiswal said, was concerned by allegations that staff of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) were involved in the October 7 terror attacks by the Hamas.

The attacks resulted in the death of 1,200 people in Israel and the Hamas took about 250 hostages. India had condemned the attacks and expressed solidarity with Israel.

“On the UNRWA, India is an important development partner of Palestine. We have been extending assistance to them, both bilaterally and through the UN,” Jaiswal said.

“But at the same time, we have a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism. In this regard, we are deeply concerned at the allegations that UNRWA staff were involved in the October 7 terror attacks. We also welcome the investigations launched by the UN in this regard.”

After Israeli authorities alleged that 13 employees of the UNRWA were associated with the October 7 attacks in varying capacities, ranging from kidnapping hostages to helping set up an operations room, the agency terminated the contracts of some staff members and launched an investigation to establish the truth.

In 2018, India increased its annual contribution to UNRWA from $1.25 million to $5 million, and pledged this annual contribution for the next two years. India has supported Palestine and Palestinian refugees by contributing a total of $29.53 million to the UNRWA between 2002 and 2023.

Jaiswal also said developments in the Red Sea, including attacks on merchant vessels by Yemen’s Houthi rebels, were a matter of concern for India and several international players. “We have been discussing this matter with our interlocutors, the US, France, Iran [and] the United Arab Emirates,” he said.

“It is a matter of concern and we want to address maritime security, freedom of navigation and how we can secure these lanes. You are also aware that the Indian Navy is active in this area – the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea – and they have been providing support and succour to several vessels, not just Indian but also of other nations,” he said.

The Indian Navy has also been supporting Indian sailors on merchant vessels and this has been widely appreciated. While India is not part of any multilateral force created to secure the waters in this region, it is keeping a close watch on the evolving situation, Jaiswal said.

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