India’s Statement At UNGA Hints Out At Tilt Towards Israel

(This was originally posted in Times Of India by Indrani Bagchi)

India’s Statement At UNGA Hints Out At Tilt Towards Israel India effected a subtle shift in its Middle East policy last week. Between its intervention in the UN security council on May 16 and its statement in the UN general assembly on May 20, India’s stance shifted perceptibly towards Israel.
For possibly the first time, India dropped a stock line from its statement on the Israel-Palestine crisis: “India’s strong support to the just Palestinian cause and its unwavering commitment to the two-State solution.” This was part of the Indian statement in the UN security council just a few days prior, but absent from the general assembly statement.In addition, India’s condemnation of the Hamas rocket firing into Israel was much sharper in the general assembly than it had been in the security council.

India’s statement in the general assembly said, “We condemn the indiscriminate rocket firings from Gaza into Israel, which have caused deaths of a number of civilians. The retaliatory strikes into Gaza have also resulted in deaths and destruction. We deeply mourn the loss of the lives of innocent civilians, including the Indian national, in the current cycle of violence.”

India reserved its condemnation for Hamas’ actions, categorizing Israeli actions as retaliatory, in self-defence. In its UNSC statement of May 16, India had condemned the Hamas firing, categorised the Israeli action as “retaliation” and de-hyphenated New Delhi’s support for the Palestine cause from its condemnation of Hamas actions.In neither statement did India equate the Hamas action and the Israeli retaliation. But in the UNGA, India said, “We believe that every effort should be made to create conducive conditions for the resumption of direct talks between Israel and Palestine.” This puts the onus for creating such conditions on Hamas, not Israel.

In the UNSC statement, India had said, “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.” This was seen to draw an equivalence between Israel and Hamas, particularly with India stating then that it was Israel’s actions in East Jerusalem and the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood that started the problem.

In the UNGA statement, India removed all such ambiguity, being much more supportive of Israel.India’s UNSC statement evoked a lot of criticism of the government from BJP’s own supporters, who felt India was not supporting Israel enough during this time, and that being even-handed meant an acceptance of Hamas actions.

Israel clearly felt the same way. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted his thanks to a number of countries that supported Israel, but India was not among them. India and Israel’s political affinity ran into the institutional stand traditionally taken by the Indian foreign office. The course correction by India in the UN general assembly was intended to correct this perception.

Times Of India

Kartik Sud

I am working as a News Author With the DefenceXP network, Observing LOC and LAC

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