India’s Palestine policy

Synopsis:

India’s statement at the recent UNSC meeting points towards the evolving nature of India’s Palestine policy. The country backed Palestine but without any reference to Jerusalem or its borders.

Background:
  • The violence between Israel and Hamas has intensified since the May 11 encounter. It involved the exchange of rockets between Hamas and Israel.
  • A meeting of UNSC was convened to bring about a ceasefire of the situation, although no concrete outcome was achieved. The US blocked a joint statement calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
  • Being a non-permanent member, India gave its statement in the meeting.  
India’s Palestine Policy

India recently issued a statement on the Israel-Palestine conflict. In this statement;

  • It showed strong support for the just Palestinian cause. Further, India supported the two-state solution for solving the conflict.
  • The country expressed deep concern over violence in Jerusalem especially on Haram esh-Sharif/Temple Mount during the holy month of Ramzan. Further, the possible eviction process in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem was also criticized.
  • The statement pointed towards the clashes in the Al-Aqsa compound and East Jerusalem’s neighborhood as the trigger point of conflict. Rather than May 10 rocket strikes by the Hamas group over Israel.
  • The country requested both sides to refrain from attempts to unilaterally change the existing status quo, including in East Jerusalem and its neighborhood. 
    • This means Israel should stop the eviction process of Palestinians and restore the status quo ante at the Al Aqsa compound.
Evolving Nature of India’s Palestine policy:
  • In the statement, there was no direct reference to the status of Jerusalem or the future Israel-Palestine borders.
    • The statement fails to mention east Jerusalem as the future capital of Palestine under the two-state solution. Although, this has been the traditional stance of India.
    • Until 2017, India called for creating secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel. However, now the focus is only on peaceful coexistence with Israel.
  • Earlier India used to use the term Haram esh-Sharif, but now it has been using the term Haram esh-Sharif/Temple Mount. The Former term meant exclusive Islamic control and ownership but the latter makes it a Jewish as well as Islamic issue.
  • Further, as a part of the Link West Policy, India has de-hyphenated its relationship with Israel and Palestine in 2018. This allows it to treat both the countries as mutually independent and exclusive.

Source: The Hindu

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