India’s stand on Israel – Palestine conflict

  • Introduction-

• Few international arguments have generated as much emotion, passion, anguish, and diplomatic gridlock as the Israeli‐Palestinian conflict.

• Rooted in decades of clashes over religion, borders, and territory, the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians has engulfed scores of politicians, diplomats, and others in a peace process in which the ultimate goal has been desirably close on numerous occasions only to be dismantled at the 11th hour. While the labored history of the conflict dates back more than a century.

  • First Intifada-

• Then in 1987, the Palestinian population collectively rose up against Israel’s repressive policies. The uprising, which became known as the first Intifada, was characterized by mass civil disobedience, general strikes, boycotts, refusals to pay taxes, and Palestinian youths throwing stones at Israeli tanks and soldiers. The word intifada means ‘shaking off,’

  • Second Intifada-

• The explosive atmosphere reached a flashpoint in September of 2000, when the second Intifada erupted. Soon afterwards, Israelis voted in a new Prime Minister ‐‐ Ariel Sharon of the right‐wing Likud party.

• The unrest spiraled from Palestinian protests and deadly Israeli repression into riots, assassinations, suicide bombings, and massive Israeli military incursions. The conflict became known as the second Intifada.

  • India’s balanced attitude since past-

• India’s balancing act between its Israeli and Palestinian friends is a relatively recent phenomenon. For most of its pre and post‐independence history, New Delhi viewed the Israeli‐Palestinian conflict through an ideological lens and in zero‐sum terms, pursuing a foreign policy antagonistic towards the Jewish state.

• India was one of the first nations to recognize Palestine’s cause and it was the first non‐Arab state to recognize the Palestinian Liberation Organization as the sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1974.

• Several factors, including a fear of alienating its large Muslim population, Cold War politics, a desire to counter Pakistan’s influence in the Muslim world, and a need to garner Arab support for its position over the Kashmir issue compelled New Delhi to pursue an exclusively pro‐Arab and thus pro‐Palestinian foreign policy for more than forty years.

• India’s skillful balancing act between its Israeli and Palestinian counterparts is an enlightening illustration of the transformation Indian foreign policy has experienced since the end of the Cold War.

  • Current India-Israel relations-

• Abandoning ideology for pragmatism and zero‐sum calculations for a more fair balanced approach, India finally extended full diplomatic recognition to Israel in 1992.

• Ties between the two countries have flourished since then with India and Israel sharing a congruence of interests in several areas and embarking on a multidimensional “strategic partnership” as a result.

• Economic cooperation as well as collaboration in space research, trade, science and technology, and education is also thriving between India and Israel.

• Although India’s dynamic relationship with Israel advances a series of critically important Indian interests, New Delhi has not allowed its robust ties with the Jewish state to dilute its historic bonds with the Palestinian people.

  • India-Palestine relations-

• India’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and its attitude to the Palestinian question was given voice through our freedom struggle by Mahatma Gandhi.

• India’s empathy with the Palestinian cause and its friendship with the people of Palestine have become an integral part of its time‐tested foreign policy.

• In 1947, India voted against the partition of Palestine at the United Nations General Assembly. India was the first Non‐Arab State to recognize PLO as sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1974.

• India was one of the first countries to recognize the State of Palestine in 1988. In 1996, India opened its Representative Office to the Palestine Authority in Gaza, which later was shifted to Ramallah in 2003.

• Trade between India and Palestine has shown stable improvement. Products imported from India include fabrics, yarns, stationery products, leather products, industrial tools and accessories, basmati rice, spices, vaccines and pharmaceutical products, sanitary wares, marble and granites.

  • India’s current steps towards Israel and Palestine-

Belief that is growing as India’s tilt towards the Israel is shown by following incidence:

• Increase in growing military relationship of India with Israel.

• India declined to vote against Israel in a resolution related to strikes in Gaza over a period of two months in 2014 that left more than 2,200 dead, including 1,462 Palestinian civilians. The vote was on a report, submitted during the UNHRC’s summer session in Geneva a year later that blamed Israel for what it called “extensive use of weapons with a wide kill and injury radius.

• India’s commitment with Israel has grown substantially in the last two decades on military, scientific, commercial and agricultural matters. The affinity has been less ideological than pragmatic, each side understanding the other’s needs.

• Israel remains uncomfortable about India’s close ties with Iran, just as India looks warily at Israel’s relationship with China.

-by Vinayshri Salunkhe

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