Jul 21, 2014, 10:42 PM
News Code: 81244963
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Indian Gov't declares “no change in policy on Palestine”: Report

New Delhi, July 21, IRNA – India’s External Affairs Minister Shushma Swaraj on Monday in Rajya Sabha while replying to the dabate on Israeli attacks on Gaza, declared that there is no change in Government’s policy on Palestine.

While the Left demanded 'immediate suspension of all military purchases from Israel, Swaraj asserted that India's policy on Palestine issue remains unchanged.

Government today refused to take sides over the Gaza conflict as it said Israel and Palestine should have peace talks and forestalled a resolution in Rajya Sabha which was demanded by the opposition.

There is absolutely no change in India's policy towards Palestine, which is that we fully support the Palestinian cause while maintaining good relations with Israel,' the Minister said and emphasised that this policy has been in vogue through various governments, including those of Congress, BJP and coalition governments headed by Deve Gowda and I K Gujral.

External Affairs Minister said the House should not be divided but send out a joint message that wherever there is violence, it is condemnable and both Israel and Palestine should accept Egypt's offer of peace talks, pti reported.

She was replying to a short-duration debate on Gaza situation during which opposition condemned the violence in Gaza, pressed for adoption of a resolution, demanded suspension of all military purchases from Israel and wanted India to raise the issue at the UN.

Almost the entire opposition, which had stalled the House last week by pressing for a discussion on the issue, was unhappy as none of the demands were met and staged a walkout. BJD, however, did not join them.

Meanwhile, earlier, holding a debate on Gaza conflict in Rajya Sabha, opposition parties today condemned the violence in Gaza and pressed for adoption of a resolution by the Rajya Sabha against it besides demanding suspension of all military purchases from Israel as the House took up a discussion over the matter ending a week-long deadlock.

The House, which was paralysed over the issue last week, also saw demands from members for India raising its concern over the Israel attack on Gaza strip at the United Nations.

Initiating a discussion on the 'Unprecedented spurt in violence in Gaza and West Bank area of Palestine causing death of scores of civilians', Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad slammed the government over the delay in discussing the issue questioning whether it has made any change in the country's foreign policy towards Palestine.

Accusing the government of acting as a 'spectator' to the on-going 'massacre' in Palestine, Azad said 'I request the Indian government, the Opposition, the House and 124 crore people of the country to rise to the occassion on humanitarian grounds. A resolutiion should be passed... the use of force must stop...prevent further loss of life and property in Palestine.

'A united appeal must be made. Government must realize India's stature and walk the talk. Entire House should condemn the attack and pass a resolution.'

Noting that India's policy has always been to support the Palestine cause, he said at a time when the country is emerging as a democratic and economic power in the world, 'India is sitting as mere spectator and it took us seven days to think whether we should even discuss it or not.'

Condemnding the 'genocide' in Palestine by Israeli forces, Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) demanded 'immediate suspension of all military purchases from Israel'.

Noting that Israel is the biggest supplier of arms and ammunition to India, Yechury said the profit earned from it is being spent by Israel in carrying out such 'genocides'.

Wondering how can people say that those associated with Hamas are terrorist, he said they have been democratically elected by Palestinians, adding 'I may have disagreements with the BJP but they are democratically elected'.

The member said India cannot be a silent spectator and a resolution should be brought in the House to condemn it.

UN Security Council has condemned it and US Secretary General has termed it atrocious, he said.

'Palestinians are denied their legitimate right to homeland...Until that is returned..India should suspend all military purchases...cripple them,' he said saying even Prime Minister Narendra Modi was signatory to BRICS resolution.

Ahmed Hassan (Trinamool Congress) said the government should raise the issue at the United Nations as the two-nation theory in case of Israel and Palestine is not being recognised.

Anil Madhav Dave (BJP) said there is a need to go to the root of the problem and a solution will come only when the problem is diagnosed properly.

He said similar situations prevail in other parts of the world, adding India should not tilt itself to any one side and play a 'neutral' role.

Sharad Yadav (JD-U) supported Azad's argument that India has its economic interests in West Asia and said a discussion on the issue should not have been delayed.

Ram Gopal Yadav (SP) said India cannot afford to be neutral when severe atrocities were being committed on Palestinians by Israel. 'India is non-aligned but wherever there is injustice, it has to intervene.'

Brajesh Pathak (BSP) said all efforts should be taken to stop the violence in Gaza.

The decision to hold a short duration discussion on the issue for one-and-a-half-hour was later extended to two-and-a-half-hour with the consent of members from both sides in the House.

Meanwhile, As the Israeli aggression continued in Gaza, the outrage of Indian people, irrespective of age, gender and religion, continued across India.

Under the banner of, religious organizations, civil societies, NGOs and student organization, tens of thousands of people, including women and children, from Delhi to Mumbai, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Bihar, Kashmir, etc, continued protest, outside the Israeli Embassy and Consulates, denouncing the invasion of Gaza by the Israeli forces and expressed solidarity with the defenseless Palestinians, trapped in the tiny stip of land. Carrying banners and play cards, depicting slogans against Israel, UN, US, they are drawing the attention of every passerby, against the genocide perpetrated by the Israeli Regime, encouraged by the world body’s silence and backed by the Obama administration.

As reported, Israel’s fiercest attack on Gaza, the most populated area in the Earth located in 360 sq. kms radius with 1.8 million people, has so far killed 535 people, including women, children and elderly. More than 3000 Palestinians have been injured so far.