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India betraying Palestinians? Modi carries forward Narasimha Rao's policy to establish full-fledged relations with Israel

By Sheshu Babu

After Independence, India adopted the policy of non-alignment under the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. While the prime motive was non-interference, India always supported the cause of Palestinians in UN and also in WHO till 2016. It voted in favour of Palestine in almost every resolution. The year 2017 was the first occasion when India abstained from voting on the Palestine issue clearly from the orders of New Delhi, given the Government's current growing strategic and economic relation with Israel.
India was among 20 countries, which abstained during a vote on 'draft decision' on May 23, proposing to support Palestinians in their endeavor to provide health services in the present conflict ridden situation. Discussion on the issue was part of the agenda in World Health Assembly, the WHO annual global level event in Geneva taking place this year (May 21 -26).
The draft decision titled 'Health conditions in the occupied Palestine Territory including east Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan' was proposed by Algeria, Bahrain, Cuba,Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Maldives, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, Venezuela (Bolivian Republic of) and Yemen, etc. (May 28, 2018, www.kracktivist.org).
Discussieons on the health conditions of Palestinians draft was put to vote. 90 countries voted in favour and 6 against (Australia, Canada, US, UK and Guatemala). Twenty nations abstained. At a time when Israelis massacred about 60 civilians in Gaza, India's abstaining is regrettable. Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, the Indian chapter of people's health movement, said that this is shocking (Down to Earth). This comes at a time when Israel is violating human rights consistently.
The seeds of relationship with Israel were laid during the rule of Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao. The visit of Arafat in 1992 had some indications of India abandoning its four decade policy of 'no relations' with Israel. According to PR Kumaraswamy (JNU) , the Rao-Arafat meet removed the last hurdle in normalisation of relations with Israel, and Arafat had no option but to agree that India had the right to decide its own foreign priorities ("Modi Redefines India's Palestine policy", May 18, 2017, https//idsa.in).
Modi, who admires Rao, has carried the policy forward and established full-fledged relations with Israel. Thus,the India right wing has 'backstabbed' the people of Palestinians. Their support to Israel has become an integral part of India's Middle-East policy. Palestine people have been left in the lurch.
People of India should vociferously protest this abstention and force the government to take proactive stance in support of the people of Palestine. The Zionist Israeli rule backed by US and its allies must be sternly opposed. Human rights activists should see that the traditional support to oppressed people like Palestine should not be deviated by the government. Mass mobilisation to protest the indifferent attitude should be stepped up. Indians should firmly denounce atrocities by Israel and its allies.

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