India opposes Hamas rocket action against Israel, supports Palestine
In a nuanced statement on the Middle-East situation, India has opposed “indiscriminate rocket firing” by Hamas from Gaza to target civilian population in Israel while supporting the Palestinian cause and its commitment to the two-state solution.
While the UN Security Council could not issue a statement on the escalating situation after what Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi called a “block by one country”, the US is coming under pressure to reconsider its position on the Israel-Hamas conflict.
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The Indian statement issued by UN Permanent Representative on May 16 has used the word “retaliatory strikes” by Israel to Hamas action. The words have been carefully inserted as India itself has been a victim of cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan. The fact is that India lost one of its nationals Soumya Santhosh from Kerala is the indiscriminate rocket firing by the Sunni militant group. "We reiterate our strong condemnation of all acts of violence, provocation, incitement and destruction," the Indian statement said.
While India has opposed Hamas action, it has stuck to its traditional line of direct dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian authorities as well as remaining committed to the two state solution. “Immediate de-escalation is the need of the hour, so as to arrest any further slide towards the brink. We urge both sides to show extreme restraint, desist from actions that exacerbate tensions, and refrain from attempts to unilaterally change the existing status quo, including in East Jerusalem and its neighbourhood,” the state said.
It is understood that friends of Israel have privately told Tel Aviv to exercise full restraint or else it will further alienate itself from the global community.
The Indian position is carefully articulated in the statement as New Delhi has close ties with both Israel and the Arab world and supports the Palestinian cause. The Hamas action against Israel from Gaza further complicates the issue as the Sunni group has few supporters in the PLO, whose leader Mahmoud Abbas is the president of the State of Palestine and Palestine National Authority.