In affront to Israel, India extends support to Palestine

Stop blockade of Gaza, says India at the UN.

By SujeetRajan

UNITED NATIONS: India has expressed firm solidarity with the people of Palestine, saying that the plight of ordinary Palestinians is “worsening every day,” and the blockade of Gaza by Israel is causing a great deal of “hardship” to Palestinians.

Speaking at the Security Council Open Debate on “The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian Question” in New York, Ambassador Asoke Kumar Mukerji, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, in a statement said that the Middle East peace process is passing through its most difficult phase in recent times, pointing out that for more than two years, the parties have not held any official meeting, and that efforts of the international community have failed to make any impact on the ground.

“In the West Bank and East Jerusalem, intensification of settlement activities is fast eroding the very foundation of a two-state solution. The plight of ordinary Palestinians is worsening everyday due to roadblocks and related infrastructure of occupation that put restrictions on the free movement of persons and goods,” said Mukerji.

He said the blockade of Gaza has also continued, causing a great deal of hardships to Palestinians.

“The plight of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails requires immediate attention,” said Mukerji. “Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority is facing one of the worst financial crises that threaten to erode the progress made in building Palestinian state institutions. If the present situation persists, the international community will risk a serious destabilization in the region. It is therefore imperative that efforts aimed at breaking the deadlock and resumption of peace process are reinvigorated.”

Mukerji said India join others in urging Israel to stop settlement activities in order for the Palestinian side to come to the negotiating table.

Saying that Israel has recently taken some measures to allow flow of essential goods into Gaza, he added: “still the continuing blockade remains in force, and is adversely affecting essential services, economic activities and infrastructure development. We continue to call for complete lifting of the blockade. The parties should also fully implement the provisions of the ceasefire agreement reached in November 2012.”

Mukerji pointed out that the Palestinian government is facing a financing gap estimated at $1.2 billion, and that they receive support to bridge that gap.

Invoking Gandhi’s support for the Palestinian cause, Mukerji pointed out that India was the first non-Arab country to recognize the State of Palestine in 1988.

“Since then, India’s bonds of friendship with the Palestinian people have been strengthened and reinvigorated by regular interactions,” he said.

India has supported Palestine’s bid for full and equal membership of the United Nations and co-sponsored the status of Palestine to a non-member Observer state.

“India has consistently supported a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue, resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine living within secure and recognized borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, side by side and at peace with Israel…” said Mukerji.

India has also partnered Palestine in socio-economic development and extended material assistance to the Palestinian Authority. India pledged $10 million last year as budgetary support to Palestine.

To contact the editor, e-mail: sujeetrajan@americanbazaaronline.com

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