Israeli envoy's praise for India: New Delhi's position on Hamas war 'remarkable'
The Israeli ambassador said he was hopeful that India will designate Hamas as a terrorist entity.
Israeli defence forces have completely destroyed Hamas's infrastructure in northern Gaza except the underground tunnels and the focus at the end of the current pause in fighting will be to clean up the southern part of the strip, Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon said on Tuesday.
In an interaction with a group of journalists, the envoy also described India's position on the Gaza crisis as "remarkable" from the day one and especially mentioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi's strong denunciation of Hamas's unprecedented terror attack on Israeli cities on October 7.
Gilon said Israel banning Lashkar-e-Taiba as a terror group around 15 years after the Mumbai terror attack was a "gesture", asserting that both sides have been expanding anti-terror cooperation in the last few years.
The Israeli ambassador said he was hopeful that India will designate Hamas as a terrorist entity and that his government has already provided New Delhi all the required information against the group.
Days after the October 7 attack on Israeli cities by Hamas, Israel called on India to designate the group as a terrorist entity as was done by many other countries.
"We did whatever was expected from our side. Now it is for the Indian government to decide -- if, where, how, how fast," he said when asked whether New Delhi has given any indication on whether it will heed to the Israeli request.
When asked whether information provided to the Indian government on Hamas also includes its possible activities in India, he said it is not specific to any geographies.
"We gave general information about the activities of Hamas wherever they are; not specific to (India)," he said.
After weeks of fighting, Israel and Hamas agreed on a four-day pause in fighting from Friday last. The ceasefire was extended by another two days.
Gilon put the number of Hamas terrorists at around 30,000 and said several thousands of them were killed in the Israeli operations. He also asserted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government is determined to eliminate Hamas.
The Israeli defence forces have completely destroyed Hamas's infrastructure in northern Gaza except the underground tunnels. At the end of the current pause in fighting, they will focus on cleaning up the southern part of Gaza, Gilon said.
A senior military official at the embassy said the Israeli Defence Forces will take all the precaution to ensure safety of the civilians while carrying out its operation in South Gaza.
We will create a humanitarian corridor, he said.
Answering a question, Gilon said around 1,500 terrorists were killed by Israeli forces on October 7 following Hamas's attacks on Israeli cities.
"We are not going to give up on our aim to ensure that Hamas cannot again carry out attacks on Israel," the ambassador said.
He said the Israeli government had asked its armed forces to eliminate the capabilities of Hamas and ensure release of the hostages and both the objectives are being met.
Asked about India abstaining on a UN General Assembly resolution on the Israel-Hamas conflict and later supporting a few UN resolutions on the conflict, Gilon said India's position on the Gaza crisis has been "remarkable" from day one.
The envoy cited Prime Minister Modi's strong condemnation of the attack by Hamas on Israel and noted that New Delhi has always been supporting a two-state solution to the Palestine issue.
Following the Israel-Hamas conflict, India has been urging both the sides to eschew violence, de-escalate the situation and create conditions for an early resumption of direct peace negotiations towards a two-state solution to the Palestine issue.
Israel carried out a massive military offensive in Gaza following the unprecedented and multi-pronged attacks on Israeli cities by Hamas militants on October 7.
Hamas killed around 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped more than 240 others.
Around 14,000 people have been killed in Gaza in the Israeli offensive, according to the Hamas-run authorities in Gaza.
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