February 25, 2024
Hypocritical Stance over Gaza War

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THE United States has vetoed yet another resolution in the United Nations Security Council calling for an immediate ceasefire on February 20, 2024.  This is the third time that the United States has vetoed resolutions in the Security Council calling for a ceasefire – the first being in October and the second in December 2023.

The latest veto comes at a time when Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza has led to the deaths of over 29,500 Palestinians and over 69,000 injured since October 7. Of the dead, 12,500 are children. 

The prime minister, Netanyahu, has announced that the ground attack on the last remaining city in Gaza, Rafah, will begin soon.  Rafah is in the southernmost tip of Gaza and the area is crammed with 1.4 million people, most of them had to take refuge there after fleeing northern and central Gaza. The United Nations has warned that an attack on Rafah will be catastrophic and have devastating consequences for the civilian population.

The United States has been, of late, expressing concern at the mounting Palestinian casualties and has been asking Israel not to launch the attack on Gaza.  Yet, when a resolution, which could help to stop the fighting, is sought to be adopted in the UN Security Council, the United States scuttles such a move. This is in keeping with the doubletalk that president Biden and his administration have been indulging in, in the past few weeks – make noises about the tremendous toll of civilian lives in Gaza and at the same time provide a shield for Israel to continue carrying on its crimes against humanity. 

Much of the weaponry and ammunition used in Gaza by the Israeli armed forces have been supplied by America.  All the diplomacy being conducted with the repeated trips of the US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, to Israel and the neighbouring Arab countries are aimed to extricate the Israeli hostages still held by Hamas rather than to put an end to the fighting.   Finally, faced with the growing international outcry against the genocide in Gaza, the United States has circulated an alternate resolution in the UN Security Council which mentions the term “ceasefire” for the first time but then says it should come into effect “when practicable”, i.e., when Israel thinks it can be done.

The Modi government’s stance on the Israeli war on Gaza reflects the same doubletalk and hypocrisy of the United States. After coming out in full support of Israel in the wake of the October 7 attacks by Hamas, the BJP government has scrupulously kept away from condemning the Israeli aggression on Gaza.  In the United Nations General Assembly, when the first vote on a ceasefire resolution was taken, India abstained and did not support the demand in October 2023.  When a resolution for ceasefire  came up for the  second time in the General Assembly in December, sensing the worldwide condemnation of Israel’s action among the countries of the Global South, India voted for the resolution, after having in vain supported an amendment which would have included the condemnation of Hamas’s violent attacks. 

It is two months hence that foreign minister, Jaishankar, has stated that “Israel should have been very mindful of civilian casualties in its response to Hamas’s October 7 attack”.  He also added that, “It (Israel) has an obligation to observe international humanitarian law”. This was said at the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on February 17.

But so far, the Indian government has not come out publicly asking Israel not to launch an attack on Rafah city, something which the prime ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand have in a joint statement stated that they are “greatly concerned” about the potentially “catastrophic” Israeli military operation in Rafah and called for an immediate ceasefire.  All the three countries are close allies of the United States and Australia is a partner in the Quad like India. 

India’s pro-Israeli stance is in sharp contrast to that of its BRICS partners, South Africa and Brazil.  South Africa has earned the respect and appreciation of the Global South by petitioning the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to declare Israel in violation of the Convention against Genocide.  As a result, the ICJ had given provisional measures directing Israel not to take any step which would amount to genocide. The Brazilian president, Lula da Silva has categorically condemned Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza and compared it to the Holocaust.  The result has been a diplomatic rupture between Israel and Brazil with both countries recalling their ambassadors.

There is something hypocritical about foreign minister Jaishankar’s advice to Israel to be mindful of civilian casualties.  This is at a time when India has exported over 20 Hermes military drones made in India to Israel. A joint venture was set-up between the Adani group and the Israel’s Elbit Systems to manufacture the drones in a factory in Hyderabad.  The Hermes armed drones are being used by the Israeli army in Gaza to deliver laser guided bombs.  So India, like the United States, is complicit in the massacre of Palestinian civilians. 

The burgeoning military collaboration between India and Israel has led not only to Israeli becoming the second largest exporter of arms to India but private defence sector in India has entered into co-production agreements with Israeli arms companies.  The Adani-Elbit Advanced Systems is one such enterprise.  Another is the Kalyani Rafael Advanced System and some others.

Since the Modi government came to office in 2014, 42 per cent of all arms exports from Israel has landed in India.  From India, some millions of dollars worth of arms exports have gone to Israel.  If the Modi government has even an iota of concern about the ongoing massacre of Palestinian women and children, it should forthwith stop arms exports to Israel, including armed drones.  India is one of the financiers of the Israeli war machine and the military collaboration with Israel must stop. 

In this connection, one has to laud the decision taken by the Water Transport Federation of India, which represents 3,500 workers at eleven major Indian ports who have declared that they will not load or unload weaponised cargo which may be used by Israel in its war against the Palestinian people.  This stance, unlike that of the Modi government, is what is in tune with the anti-imperialist, peace-loving sentiments of the Indian people. 

(February 21, 2023)


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