India has voiced support for diplomatic efforts of the UN as well as Egypt that led to a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza and urged all parties to de-escalate the situation to ensure it does not spiral out of control. After a year of relative calm, tensions have risen again in Gaza. It is a matter of grave concern that the violence has not completely subsided despite hectic diplomatic parleys, development initiatives, and efforts by the international community to hold the fragile ceasefire negotiated last May, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj said.
Speaking here on Monday at the UN Security Council open meeting on the situation in Gaza, she said the latest cycle has, once again, caused immense suffering and resulted in the loss of precious civilian lives, including children, and has left several injured and traumatised. We support the diplomatic efforts of the UN and members of the international community, the countries in the region, especially Egypt, that has led to a ceasefire, to calm the situation further and seek to achieve durable peace, she said, adding that India urges all parties to de-escalate the situation to ensure that this does not spiral out of control.
Kamboj emphasised that even as the Security Council focuses on the cessation of hostilities in Gaza, we must also underline the urgent need for resuming dialogue between Israel and Palestine for a two-State solution. The absence of direct and meaningful negotiations between the two parties will only widen the trust deficit, which, in turn, increases the chances for similar escalations in the future. She noted that the recent developments can also challenge the incremental gains made in the last year in addressing Gaza's humanitarian and economic situation. Therefore, the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza must continue to remain the focus of the international community, she said.
Kamboj underlined that long-term peace in Israel and Palestine can be achieved only through 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, taking into consideration the legitimate security needs of Israel. India has consistently called for the resumption of direct peace negotiations between the parties, which, we believe, is the best path towards achieving the goal of a two-state solution. The UN and the international community must prioritise the revival of these negotiations, she said.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the announcement of the ceasefire in Gaza and Israel and commended Egypt for its efforts carried out, in close coordination with the UN, to help restore calm. Guterres called on all sides to observe the ceasefire. He had also expressed deep sadness by the loss of life and injuries, including children, from airstrikes in Gaza and the indiscriminate firing of rockets toward Israel from population centers in Gaza by Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other militant groups.
Tor Wennesland, the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, told the Council that the past days witnessed a deeply worrying escalation in the Gaza Strip between Israeli military forces and Palestinian armed groups, primarily the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. On Sunday, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office had announced in separate statements that a ceasefire had been agreed upon and would come into effect at 11:30 pm on August 7.
Tor welcomed the ceasefire agreement and expressed gratitude to Egypt for its crucial role in securing the ceasefire, alongside the United Nations. He also appreciated the very important support provided by Qatar, the US, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority, and others to de-escalate the situation. Together, these efforts combined helped prevent the outbreak of a full-scale war and as of this morning allowed for the delivery of much-needed humanitarian relief to the people of Gaza, he said.