New Delhi: India has called the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza a “matter of grave concern” and that “violence has not completely subsided despite hectic diplomatic parleys, development initiatives”. Conflict broke out between Israel and Gaza-based Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Since then, worries are growing amid growing violence.
Speaking at the United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in Gaza, India’s new Ambassador to United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj, said, “the latest cycle has, once again, caused immense suffering and resulted in the loss of precious civilian lives, including children, and has left several injured and traumatized. We extend our deepest condolences to all those affected and their families.”
These are the first public comments by India after hostilities broke between the two sides. The conflict came almost a year after clashes broke out in May of last year that lasted 11 days. This time the violence broke out after Israel arrested PIJ’s commander which was followed by strikes by the group. In retaliation, Israel conducted its own strikes.
Ambassador Ruchira lauded Egypt’s role in working on a ceasefire between the two sides. She said, “We support the diplomatic efforts of the UN and members of the international community, the countries in the region, especially Egypt, that has led to a ceasefire, to calm the situation further and seek to achieve durable peace.” She further added, “we urge all parties to de-escalate the situation to ensure that this does not spiral out of control.”
India has good relations with Israel, which are incrementally growing, and has been an important development partner of Palestine. This year India and Israel are celebrating 30 years of establishment of formal relationship and are part of groupings like I2U2. As for Palestine, New Delhi has in the past extended economic assistance for various projects. Indian govt supported the construction of the Jawaharlal Nehru Library at the Al Azhar University in Gaza city and the Mahatma Gandhi Library-cum-Student Activity Centre at the Palestine Technical College at Deir Al Balah in the Gaza Strip.
Indian envoy to the UN recalled New Delhi’s long-standing policy on the issue. She said, “long-term peace in Israel and Palestine can be achieved only through a negotiated two-state solution leading to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders, side by side, at peace with Israel, taking into consideration the legitimate security needs of Israel.”
She called on for the “resumption of direct peace negotiations between the parties, which, we believe, is the best path towards achieving the goal of a two-state solution” and that the “UN and the international community must prioritize the revival of these negotiations.”