Published On: Wed, Jan 10th, 2024

India on Israel-Hamas war: ‘No justification for terrorism and hostage-taking’

New Delhi: India on Tuesday (local time) strongly condemned the loss of civilian lives in the ongoing war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas, calling it “clearly unacceptable”.

Indian government was in constant touch with the leaders of Israel and Palestine

New Delhi reiterated its zero tolerance towards terrorism and raised the issue of hostage-taking by Hamas, asserting that there was no justification for such acts.

Speaking at a meeting of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), India’s permanent representative to the UN, Ruchira Kamboj, said the Indian government was in constant touch with the leaders of Israel and Palestine over the war. She said a peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy was the only way forward.

“The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has led to a large-scale loss of civilian lives, especially women and children, and has resulted in an alarming humanitarian crisis. This is clearly unacceptable and we have strongly condemned the deaths of civilians. At the same time, we are aware that the immediate trigger was the terror attacks in Israel on October 7, which were shocking and deserve our unequivocal condemnation. India has a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism,” Kamboj said.

“There can be no justification for terrorism and hostage-taking. Our thoughts are with those who have been taken as hostages and we demand their immediate and unconditional release,” she added.

She also stressed continued humanitarian aid for the people affected due to the Israel-Hamas war, which has been going on for the past three months.

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“The leadership of India is in constant touch with the leaders of the region, including those of Israel and Palestine. We have also voiced our views in multilateral forums such as the G20, the BRICS, and the Global South Summit in November 2023. We have reiterated our longstanding and principal position on the issue,” the diplomat said.

“We have also called for continued humanitarian aid for the affected population and in this regard, we hope that Security Council Resolution 2720 would aid in enhancing humanitarian assistance,” she said.

Kamboj highlighted that India had provided 70 tonnes of humanitarian aid, including 16.5 tonnes of medicine and medical supplies in two tranches, to the people of Palestine so far.

“We have also provided USD 5 million, including the USD 2.5 million we provided at end of December 2023 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees. This amount will support the agency’s core programmes and services, including education, healthcare, relief and social services provided to Palestinian refugees,” she stated.

“It is important to prevent escalation, to ensure continued delivery of humanitarian aid, and to work towards an early restoration of peace and stability. A peaceful resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy is the only way forward,” Kamboj said.

“By reaffirming India’s firm commitment to achieving a just, peaceful and lasting solution to the Israel-Palestine issue. We firmly believe that only a two-state solution achieved through direct and meaningful negotiations between both sides on final status issues, will deliver an enduring peace that the people of Israel and Palestine desire and deserve. For this, we urge the parties to de-escalate, eschew violence and work towards creating conditions for an early resumption of direct peace negotiations,” she further said.

On October 7 last year, Hamas mounted a surprise attack on Israel, the deadliest in years, launching coordinated strikes from air, sea and land. Around 1,200 people were killed in the attack while more than 200 were taken as hostages by Hamas.

Israel responded with a brutal counteroffensive in Gaza aimed at eliminating Hamas and destroying their infrastructure, including the group’s vast tunnel network, running underneath the Palestinian enclave. More than 22,000 people died in the war.

Kamboj was addressing the UN General Assembly meeting convened on Tuesday after the US, on December 22, 2023, vetoed an amendment proposed by Russia to a resolution tabled in the Security Council on delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Gaza.

The 15-nation Council had adopted the UAE-drafted resolution that demanded scaling up humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza but had not called for a ceasefire.

After days of intense negotiations and delays on a vote, the Council had adopted the resolution with 13 votes in favour, none against and abstentions by Russia and the US.

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