India voted in favour of the UNHRC resolution on Israel's offensive in Gaza

Jul 24, 2014 18:08 IST

India on 23 July 2014 voted in favour of United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution for a probe on Israel's offensive in Gaza.

The resolution titled Ensuring Respect for international law in The Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jersusalem saw 29 countries voting in favour of resolution while 17 countries including European countries abstained from the voting. In the 47-member UNHRC the US was the only nation to vote against the resolution.

Main highlights of the UNHRC resolution

  • The Council strongly condemned the failure of Israel to end its prolonged occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
  • It also condemned all violence against civilians wherever it occurs, including the killing of two Israeli civilians
  • It also called for an end to attacks against all civilians, including Israeli civilians
  • It demanded Israel to immediately and fully end its illegal closure of the occupied Gaza Strip
  • It called upon the international community to provide urgently needed humanitarian assistance and services to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip
  • It expresses deep concern at the condition of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails and detention centres.
  • It also recommended the Government of Switzerland to promptly reconvene the conference of High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention.

In the meanwhile, on the 16th day of ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict, around 680 Palestinians and 31 Israelis have been killed. Neither Israelis nor Hamas are backing down despite several attempts at truce including the one brokered by Egypt.

Commentary/Analysis

In the days leading up to UNHRC resolution, India went for many flip-flops on the Gaza issue. During the 6th BRICS Summit, India partnered with other BRICS countries to censure Israel. Then in the third week of July 2014, Union Government after resisting the demands of Opposition to debate the Gaza issue in the Parliament, it gave in to the demand of Opposition and voted in favour of Palestine in the Parliament.

The stand of India in UNHRC has been termed by foreign policy hawks as a monumental blunder. According to them, this indicates a major shift in India's earlier stance as it contradicts the carefully neutral stance India has maintained during the course of the Gaza offensive.

But, the flip-flop shown by India indicates that Indian foreign policy still lacks certainty on the issue of Israel-Palestine conflict. As Hindustan Times columnist Abhijit Majumder tweeted, "In Rio, Modi signs BRICS censure of Israel. In Delhi, his govt blocks #Gaza debate. At UNHRC, India votes Palestine. Abki baar, decide yaar."

The Israel-Gaza Conflict

The Gaza–Israel conflict, taking place in the region of the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, is a part of the long-term Israeli–Palestinian conflict. It began in the summer of 2006 following the control of Gaza Strip by Hamas after an overwhelming election result in favour of Hamas in 2005.

The conflict escalated with the split of the Palestinian Authority to Fatah government in the West Bank and the Hamas Government in Gaza and the following violent ousting of Fatah. Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel and Israel's blockade of Gaza have exacerbated the conflict.

The recent Israel-Gaza conflict started with the kidnapping of three young Israeli settlers in West Bank in June 2014. This led to rampaging by Israel provoking Hamas to fire rockets on 30 June 2014, for the first time since the November 2012 ceasefire.

Since the launch of Operation Protective Edge by Israeli Defence Forces in Gaza, more than 680 peoples including Palestine and Israelis have lost their lives. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay termed the offensive as committing war crime.

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