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Analysis | At UN, India helps Palestine, however with out specifics

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While refusing to toe the Israeli line on the battle, India’s feedback additionally level to its evolving place on the bigger Israel-Palestine subject.

At the United Nations Security Council on Sunday, India, a non-permanent member, reaffirmed its help for Palestine, however stopped in need of making any direct reference to the standing of Jerusalem or the long run Israel-Palestine borders. Wrapping up his over-4-minute-long speech on the Security Council, T.S. Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the UN mentioned: “In conclusion, India reiterates its strong support for the just Palestinian cause and its unwavering commitment to the two-state solution.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday tweeted the nationwide flags of 25 international locations, from the United States to Albania, that he mentioned had been “resolutely standing with Israel and supporting our right to self defence”. Indian flag was not amongst them. Ambassador Tirumurti’s assertion made two issues clear. One, he mentioned the “violence began in East Jerusalem a week back”, referring to the clashes within the Al-Aqsa compound and East Jerusalem’s neighbourhood. This means, India doesn’t see Hamas’s rocket firing on May 10, which adopted Israeli forces storming Al-Aqsa Mosque within the morning, because the set off of the battle.

 

Second, India has expressed “our deep concern over the violence in Jerusalem, especially on Haram esh-Sharif/Temple Mount during the holy month of Ramzan and about the possible eviction process in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.” Dozens of Arab households within the occupied East Jerusalem face eviction by the Israelis, which was one of many triggers of Arab protests within the final week of Ramzan.

India has additionally urged either side to “refrain from attempts to unilaterally change the existing status quo, including in East Jerusalem and its neighbourhood.” Here, it’s Israel which is attempting to unilaterally change the established order by shifting to evict the Palestinian households, and deploying troops to the Al-Aqsa compound. India referred to as for “the historic status quo at the holy places of Jerusalem, including Haram esh-Sharif/Temple Mount must be respected”. So, with out mentioning any nation, India has, in impact, referred to as for the eviction course of to be stopped and established order ante to be restored on the Al Aqsa compound.

Evolving place

While refusing to toe the Israeli line on the battle, India’s feedback additionally level to its evolving place on the bigger Israel-Palestine subject. “It’s a very carefully drafted statement. For example, it’s called for the status quo relating to East Jerusalem. But you know the crucial point that’s missing is that East Jerusalem should be the capital [of a future Palestinian state]. Earlier, this used to be the mantra from India regarding the two-state solution. This portion is now taken out. Therefore, we are simply giving lip service to the two-state solution without mentioning that East Jerusalem is the core part of that two-state solution,” mentioned Talmiz Ahmad, a former diplomat, who was India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.

Until 2017, India’s place was that it supported “the Palestinian cause and called for a negotiated solution resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognised borders, side by side at peace with Israel”. Then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh acknowledged this place in November 2013. So did then President Pranab Mukherjee, in October 2015.

 

India dropped the references to East Jerusalem and the borders in 2017 when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas visited Delhi. Prime Minister Narendra Modi mentioned again then, “[W]e hope to see the realisation of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, coexisting peacefully with Israel. I have reaffirmed our position on this to President Abbas during our conversation today.” In 2018, when Mr. Modi visited Ramallah, he reaffirmed the identical place, with no direct reference to the borders or Jerusalem. Ambassador Tirumurti acknowledged this line whereas calling for a “just” answer, with out giving specifics on what that answer ought to be.

Two narratives

P.R. Kumaraswamy, professor of worldwide research at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, mentioned it’s “the sensible way of saying what is acceptable to both parties”. “It [the statement] is vague enough while at the same time firmly putting the two-state solution on the table. That’s what the point is — whether there is a reference to Jerusalem, whether it is [the] 1967 [border], these are all minor issues. The real issue is this: a two-state solution, coexisting side by side. What are the contours of the boundaries will be discussed, settled and recognised by the parties,” he mentioned.

Prof. Kumaraswamy, nevertheless, added that there are a few necessary nuances in India’s assertion. “First, the references to Haram esh-Sharif come twice. And it says, Haram esh-Sharif/Temple Mount. This is a very subtle way of saying that this is not a Palestinian narrative. The Palestinian narrative is that it is Haram esh-Sherif—that means exclusive Islamic control and ownership. By saying Temple Mount together with Sharam esh-Sherif, it says… the real issue is it is Jewish as well as Islamic. Second, you openly condemn the rockets, but no references to Israeli reaction.”

Ambassador Ahmad additionally famous the totally different approaches India took to the rocket firing and Israeli strikes. “There is a specific condemnation on the rocket fire from Gaza, but a similar condemnation is not specifically directed at the Israeli side. And then, there is this loose talk on casualties, but fails to mention the disproportionate use of force by Israel. I think there is a lot of symbolism here.”

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