Friday, June 14, 2024

Cong, Left say Israel is committing genocide, BJP rubbishes their claim

Even as the death toll in the Israel-Hamas war in Palestine has now gone past 11,000 including 4,500 children, the Congress and other Opposition parties have slammed Israel’s actions, describing them as genocide and demanding an immediate ceasefire.

The Congress, which is the main principal opposition party in India, was critical of the Hamas terror attack on Israel on October 7, which left more than 1,200 dead and 242 being taken hostage.

In a post on X on October 19, just 12 days after the terror attack, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said: “The killing of thousands of innocent civilians, including children in Gaza and the collective punishment of millions of people by cutting off their food, water and electricity are crimes against humanity.”

He also slammed the terror attack by Hamas and said: “Hamas’ killing of innocent Israelis and taking of hostages is a crime and must also be condemned.”

“The cycle of violence between Israel and Palestine must be brought to an end,” he had demanded.

On October 30, even Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi condemned India abstaining from the voting for a ceasefire in Gaza and said the grand old party’s stand on the issue of Israel and Palestine has been consistent over the years.

In her article Sonia Gandhi wrote, “Contrary to some mischievous suggestions, the position of the Indian National Congress has been long-standing and principles: it is to support direct negotiations for a sovereign independent, viable and secure state of Palestine coexisting in peace with Israel.”

“This is also the stand taken by the Ministry of External Affairs on October 12. It is noteworthy that the reiteration of India’s historic position on Palestine came only after Israel began its assault on Gaza. The Prime Minister had made no mention of Palestinian rights in the initial statement expressing complete solidarity with Israel,” Sonia wrote.

“The Indian National Congress is strongly opposed to India’s abstention on the recent United Nations General Assembly Resolution calling for an ‘immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities’ between Israeli forces and Hamas in Gaza,” Sonia wrote in a piece titled ‘A war where humanity is on trial now’.

However, the BJP on the same day accused the Congress of being driven by petty, vote-bank politics in its stand on the Israel-Hamas conflict and asked when was the last time its senior most leader wrote in the media on an international conflict.

Hitting back at the Congress, BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi told a press conference that there can be no politics on terrorism and international issues.

There should be no scope for ifs and buts on terrorism and India’s stand should be clear, categorical and unequivocal, Trivedi said.

When was the last time the senior most Congress leader wrote on an international conflict, he asked.

“It is sad that the Congress policy is not in line with India’s prestige and dignity but is inspired by petty vote-bank politics. Whatever the Congress is doing is against India’s policy,” he claimed.

Even indirect support to terrorism is damaging to humanity and India’s security and interests, he said, criticising the Congress.

Trivedi said it was during the Rajiv Gandhi government’s time that the ground was laid for boosting diplomatic ties with Israel before the P. V. Narasimha Rao-led dispensation established full diplomatic relations between the two countries.

As the then leader of the opposition, Atal Bihar Vajpayee had travelled to the UN to articulate India’s stand on a host of issues and spoke in one voice with the then government headed by Rao, Trivedi had noted.

He asserted that there has been “no change” in the government’s policy on the Palestine issue as India stands for two-state solution through peaceful means.

The Congress on November 17 condemned the Israel’s action in Palestine saying that its attack on the civilians are “genocidal” and it is shocking that many influential countries, that choose to speak the language of human rights and justice when convenient, are lending their unstinting support to Israel’s actions which reflects double standards being applied in Ukraine and in Gaza.

The Congress also slammed the language of the Israeli ministers on Palestinians like the language that preceded the Holocaust and urged the Indian government to do all it can to pressurise the governments of the US, Israel, and the EU so that they may use their power to stop the violence being committed by Israel in Gaza.

In a statement on the Israel-Hamas war, Congress General Secretary (communication) Jairam Ramesh said: “Israel’s actions following Hamas’ condemn able attack on their citizens are genocidal. The targeting of civilians, women and children, hospitals and shelters violate the values of humanity and every international norm of war.”

Hitting out at the Israeli leaders, the Congress leader said that all this while statements of “genocidal intent” from the top Israeli leadership are being made.

“Prime Minister (Benjamin) Netanyahu has himself called for turning parts of Gaza ‘to rubble’ and has called the wanton killing of men, women, and children ‘collateral damage’. The kind of dehumanising language used by some Israeli ministers on Palestinians is like the language that preceded the Holocaust,” the Congress Rajya Sabha MP said.

Expressing shock at the stand of the influential countries actions, the Congress leader said: “It is shocking that many influential countries, that choose to speak the language of human rights and justice when convenient, are lending their unstinting support to Israel’s actions. The double standards being applied in Ukraine and in Gaza is apparent.”

Jairam Ramesh said the Indian National Congress urges the Indian government to do all it can to pressurise the governments of the US, Israel, and the EU so that they may use their power to stop the violence being committed by Israel in Gaza.

The remarks from the Congress leader came in the wake of death of over 11,000 people, including over 4,500 children in Palestine in the retaliatory action by Israel after October 7 surprise terror attack by Hamas.

Even Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, addressed a press conference on October 19, reiterating the sentiments of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the ongoing Israel-Gaza war.

Bagchi had stated that India held its stance on condemning the terror attacks against Israel and that it was the international community’s duty to stand against terrorism of all forms.

However, addressing the issue of Palestinians fleeing northern Gaza, Bagchi added that there needed to be a “two-state solution”.

Earlier, Bagchi had also stated that India would support the formation of a “sovereign, independent and viable” state of Palestine.

The MEA spokesperson said: “We have strongly condemned the horrific terrorist attack on Israel. The international community must stand together in combating terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.”

“There was also the issue of Palestine and on that, we have reiterated our position in favour of direct negotiations for establishing a two-state solution,” Bagchi added.

Bagchi had earlier stated that India had always advocated the resumption of “direct negotiations” for a viable state of Palestine within “secure and recognised borders”.

He also added that India’s hope that the state of Palestine could exist “side by side at peace with Israel”.

Besides the Congress, the Left parties have openly condemned the attack on civilians in Palestine.

The CPI and CPI-M on October 28 had expressed shock over India abstaining from the voting for a ceasefire in Gaza, and slammed the government at Centre saying it shows the extent to which Indian foreign policy is being shaped by being a subordinate ally of US imperialism and the Modi government’s actions for consolidating the US-Israel-India nexus and negates India’s longstanding support to the Palestinian cause.

In a joint statement, CPI leader D. Raja and CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said: “It is shocking that India abstained on a Resolution overwhelmingly adopted by the UN General Assembly calling for a humanitarian truce titled ‘Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations’ in the ongoing Israeli offensive in Gaza.”

“India’s abstention on a resolution that was overwhelmingly adopted shows the extent to which Indian foreign policy is being shaped by being a subordinate ally of US imperialism and the Modi government’s actions for consolidating the US-Israel-India nexus. This negates India’s longstanding support to the Palestinian cause,” it said.

The joint statement said that as the United Nations General Assembly adopted this resolution, “Israel has stepped up its genocidal air and ground attacks in the Gaza strip.”

The statement added: “Respecting the overwhelming mandate of the UN General Assembly there must be an immediate ceasefire. The United Nations must re-energise itself to implement the mandate of the Security Council for a two-state solution with pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital of State of Palestine.”

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