New Delhi [India], June 1 (ANI): The Congress party on Tuesday expressed its deep concern about stand taken by the government on the recent tragic conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza and said it "must not be influenced by expediency to dilute our commitment to Palestine"
"The Congress party is deeply concerned about our country's stand on the recent tragic conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza," a party statement said.
"As one of the few countries to have maintained a good relationship with both parties to the conflict, we must not be influenced by expediency to dilute our commitment to Palestine," it said.
The Congress said press reports indicating a perceptible shift in the Indian position between the Indian intervention in the UN Security Council on May 16 and the statement in the UN General Assembly on May 20 "have conveyed the widespread impression that India has moved away from its traditional policy in the area".
"It was appropriate for our initial statement to note that the intrusion by Israeli forces into the Holy Al Aqsa mosque during Ramzan prayers ruptured the delicate peace in the region. Omitting that in our statement to the General Assembly, where sympathy for the Palestinians is far more extensive than in the Security Council, was incomprehensible. It must not be lost sight of that this unacceptable intrusion into the holy precincts was the immediate flash point," the party said.
It said the formulation reiterating "India's strong support to the just Palestinian cause and its unwavering commitment to the two-State solution," which was part of the Indian statement in the UN Security Council, was absent from the General Assembly statement, raising questions about the overall direction of the country's policy in the region.
"Our later statement at the UN Human Rights Council has also conveyed the impression that we have departed from our time-tested commitment to Palestine and thrown our support entirely to Israel. Whilst the rocket attacks by the Hamas cannot be condoned despite any provocation, the disproportionate retaliation by a much stronger, organised military is unacceptable, particularly in view of civilian casualties, including many women and children,"the statement said.
It said that amongst the casualties in Israel was an Indian citizen from Kerala, Soumya Santosh, a serving nurse, whose tragic death is a matter of national mourning for all Indians.
"We could indeed have made more of that loss than we did in our first statement. At the same time, the Israeli attack on media offices, undermining the first principles of free flow of information, and the deaths of large numbers of children in Israeli airstrikes, have gone without appropriate censure from our side," it said.
The party said foreign policy in the country has historically been bipartisan, and the Congress party supports the government in its articulation and defence of India's interests abroad.
"It is in this spirit that we reiterate the traditional position in support of the two-state solution, with appropriate recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of independent Palestine, must not be undermined by omission. Both parties should respect the ceasefire and return to peace negotiations, there being no other path to a meaningful, peaceful co-existence of Israel and Palestine,"the statement said. (ANI)