India on Thursday expressed concern at the potential for renewed violence in East Jerusalem and reaffirmed its strong commitment to the establishment of an independent, viable and democratic State of Palestine.
Addressing a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Secretary (West) Vikas Swarup underscored the importance of immediate resumption of the Middle East peace process and direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
“India supports all diplomatic efforts, including by the Quartet, which are aimed at strengthening the collective commitment of the international community to resume these negotiations and facilitate the peace process,” he said.
“After a period of brief calm, tensions are rising again in Gaza. The launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza targeting civilians in Israel and the retaliatory strikes into Gaza threaten to restart the cycle of violence, which caused immense suffering and resulted in deaths recently,” said Swarup.
He also urged all parties to honour the ceasefire arrangement to ensure that the situation does not spiral out of control.
“We are concerned at the potential for renewed violence in East Jerusalem and other parts of West Bank over the legal process that could lead to possible evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. Incitement and inflammatory rhetoric, as witnessed during the recent escalation, only drives and fuels violence,” the MEA Secretary added.
Swarup further said that any attempt to unilaterally change the status-quo that undercut efforts to advance a negotiated two-state solution should also be avoided.
He also mentioned that the focus of the international community should not be diverted from the immediate needs of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza.
“We call for reinforced cooperation between the Israeli and Palestinian authorities in the area of humanitarian aid delivery, including food and medicine, and movement of patients in and out of Gaza,” he said.
Recognising the centrality of the Palestinian Authority for the delivery of international assistance to the Palestinian people, India also encouraged all Palestinian parties to work with the Palestinian Authority to ensure the well-being of the people of Palestine.
“Let me conclude by reaffirming India’s unwavering commitment to the establishment of an independent, viable, democratic State of Palestine. There is no alternative to a two-state solution for ensuring meaningful and enduring peace,” Swarup said in his concluding remarks.
Swarup’s remarks come in the backdrop of the Israel Defense Forces conducting airstrikes on Hamas targets throughout the Gaza Strip last week in response to ongoing arson attacks from the enclave.
The ceasefire deal, between Israel and Palestine that was reached on May 21, was violated on June 16.
Israel and Hamas concluded 11 days of fighting during which hundreds of rockets were launched from both Israel and Palestine sides. According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, 253 Palestinians were killed during the fighting, including 66 children, while 13 Israelis, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, were killed.