India has expressed deep concern over developments in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza, underscoring the importance of the international community and the UN Security Council sending a “strong signal” against any step that would prevent the possibility of durable peace between Israel and Palestine.
Speaking at the Security Council meeting on Question of Palestine, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador R Ravindra said India is also following the developments in Masafer Yatta with concern, noting that tensions have risen over the potential legal eviction of the Palestinian families.
“We remain deeply concerned by developments in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza. Violent attacks and the killing of civilians have taken many Palestinian and Israeli lives,” he said on Monday. “Acts of destruction and provocation are also continuing. We have consistently advocated against all acts of violence, and reiterate our call for the complete cessation of violence,” he said.
“All unilateral measures that unduly alter the status-quo on the ground and undercut the viability of the two-state solution must be eschewed,” he said. “It is extremely important for the international community and this Council to send a strong signal against any step that would prevent the possibility of durable peace between Israel and Palestine,” he said.
Ravindra said India has consistently called for direct peace negotiations between the parties, which New Delhi believes is the best path towards achieving the goal of a two-state solution. These negotiations must be based on the internationally agreed framework, taking into account the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for statehood and Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
“The absence of these direct talks on key political issues has asymmetrical costs for Israelis and Palestinians and does not augur well for long-term peace in the region,” he said.
He added that India has always supported a negotiated two-state solution leading to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine living within secure and recognised borders, side by side at peace with Israel. He stressed that India will continue to support all efforts toward achieving a comprehensive and lasting two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and stands ready to contribute constructively to such efforts.
New Delhi also voiced appreciation for the Israeli initiative of increasing the number of work permits for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to work in Israel. “More needs to be considered to alleviate the humanitarian situation. The need of the hour is dialogue among the relevant stakeholders,” he said.
India also voiced concern over the continued precarious financial situation of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), saying lack of funding to the Agency can adversely affect the delivery of humanitarian services to the Palestinian refugee community in Palestine and elsewhere.
At the meeting of the Ad hoc Committee of the General Assembly for the announcement of the voluntary contribution to UNRWA, India reiterated its commitment to support the Agency through its annual financial contributions. India has already contributed 20 million dollars over the last four years and has also pledged five million dollars for UNRWA’s programme budget for the year 2022.