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New Delhi: Several Opposition leaders met Palestinian ambassador Adnan Abu Alhaija on Monday to express their concern for the Palestinian people and said India should exercise its diplomatic influence to call for an immediate ceasefire in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
“The Government of India doesn’t want the voice of people to be known and that is very, very problematic. So, we thought that we should let the Palestinian ambassador know that there is also a different voice in India—the general voice of the people is for peace, for the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland,” Dipankar Bhattacharya, CPI (ML) general secretary, said.
“The government is almost keeping quiet now and this amounts to endorsing Israel’s project of genocide—which is a huge departure in terms of foreign policy,” he added.
Bhattacharya said that the update provided by the ambassador on the situation in Gaza was extremely “worrying”.
“We heard that if supplies aren’t restored immediately, then the hospitals will have to close down,” he said. “This is really a genocide.”
Shortly after Hamas launched a coordinated surprise offensive on Israel on October 7, 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi denounced the attack on X and said that India stands in solidarity with Israel. The message was also reposted by external affairs minister S Jaishankar.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a press conference that although India stands against terrorism, the government has always believed in the establishment of a “sovereign, independent” Palestine”.
“Our policy has been long-standing and consistent. India always advocated the resumption of direct negotiations towards establishing a sovereign, independent state of Palestine, living within secure and recognised borders, side by side at peace with Israel. I think that position remains the same,” Bagchi said in a news conference.
Opposition calls for ‘intensified diplomatic efforts’, releases statement
Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) for Amroha K. Danish Ali said that it is time to stop demonising Palestinians and to intervene to ensure peace.
“India has had a consistent position since our Independence and we stand by the statement made by the Ministry of External Affairs, but there was confusion created by the Hon’ble Prime Minister that we are deviating from the position. We are extending our solidarity with the Palestinians,” Ali said.
“India has a voice, and so we have to use our diplomatic channels. If political backing is given, 100 per cent India will emerge as a power which can have a solution on the platter,” he added.
Shortly after the meeting with the Palestinian envoy, the leaders released a joint statement urging the international community to bring a peaceful resolution to the conflict, to respect the rights of the Palestinian people, and for immediate delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
The joint resolution was signed by, among others, Congress’ Mani Shankar Aiyar, RJD’s Manoj K Jha, CPI’s D Raja, CPI(M)’s Subhashini Ali and Nilotpal Basu, SP’s Javed Ali Khan, JD(U)’s KC Tyagi besides Bhattacharya and Ali.
“The international community must exert pressure on the state of Israel to abide by international laws and respect the rights and identity of the Palestinian people. We call for intensified diplomatic efforts and multilateral initiatives to ensure a lasting peace in the region,” the statement read.
“We express our deep concern regarding the ongoing crisis in Gaza and the suffering of the Palestinian people. We strongly condemn the indiscriminate bombing of Palestinians in Gaza by Israel, which we believe amounts to an attempt at genocide,” the statement added.
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