The Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi on 7 October 2023 tweeted: “Deeply shocked by the news of terrorist attacks in Israel. Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families. We stand in solidarity with Israel at this difficult hour.” We condemn this statement in the strongest terms as it clearly indicates the one-sided position of government against the Palestine peoples struggle for nationhood for close to eight decades.
The Hamas’ actions in Israel have a historical context that the world must take note. Not doing so amounts to erasing Israel’s history of killing Palestinians in cold blood; sustained aggression in, and occupation and annexation of Palestinian territory and denial of the existence of State of Palestine since 1948 with impunity and sustained with the support of the United States and West European governments. The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration of state of war is being portrayed globally as Israel’s right to defend itself, while in reality it is an effort to demonise Hamas and justifying Israel’s license to kill.
To suggest that Hamas actions affect innocent civilians in Israel is incorrect. Every adult ‘citizen’ of Israel, man and woman, since the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948, is required to serve a fixed-term compulsory service in the Israel Defence Force. The areas of Hamas’ action are Palestinian territory occupied though the use of force by the illegal Israeli settlers who have displaced entire communities, destroyed their homes and livelihoods, restricted their movement and denied access to their own water, land and other natural resources. Israeli settlers are allowed to carry weapons for ‘their protection’, and continually attack Palestinians to expand their settlements further. The establishment and expansion of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory is prohibited under international humanitarian law and amounts to a war crime. Over 600,000 Israeli citizens live in occupied Palestinian territory since 1967, and over 4.9 million Palestinians face daily restrictions on their movement.
The Palestinians have tried the peaceful way for decades despite the violence unleashed on them. The root cause of the present situation arises from the sustained violence against the Palestinian peoples. It is a telling commentary that when oppression and violence crosses a line the oppressed strike back and strike hard. The unity of purpose and determination of Hamas’ action even missed the attention of Israel’s espionage and surveillance machinery which is believed to be the fiercest and sharpest in the world. This conflict can only be resolved if Israel and its western allies want peace, not war, respect freedom, and stop occupation.
We call upon the Government of India to retract its position on Hamas, recognise it as an elected representative of the peoples of Palestine and recognise the right to the unquestioned and unconditional right to self-determination of the Palestinian peoples.
The Government of India must also lead from the front, within the UN system, in ensuring that there is an immediate halt to Israel’s so called ‘right to defend itself’ and clear an UN driven timetable to resolve the Palestine dispute culminating in a country for Palestinian peoples.