June 09, 2024
Delhi Erupts in Solidarity with Palestine

HUNDREDS gathered in solidarity with Palestine at Jantar Mantar on June 1, 2024 against the ongoing Israeli genocide. The protest organised in Delhi at a short notice drew a good response from various organisations, civil society groups and individuals who are concerned about the fate of Palestine and angered by Israeli aggression. The protest demonstration called by the Palestine Solidarity Committee was attended by members of trade unions, student organisations, intellectuals, teachers and other Left progressive sections. The attack on Rafah, ignoring all the directives of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the appeals of international community, created lot of anger among the people in India. This is the reason why the Solidarity Committee took the initiative to call for a protest even in the midst of the election campaign.

Israel's military widened its offensive in South Gaza with its latest offensive on Rafah, seizing control of the entire length of Gaza's border with Egypt. Fighting in Rafah has forced more than 10 lakh Palestinians to flee, most of who had already been displaced earlier in the war. They are now left with no place to seek refuge as the entire territory has become a war-ravaged area, where they lack shelter, food, water and other essentials for survival. The United Nations has repeatedly highlighted their plight and appealed Israel to cease its offensive on Palestine, but to no avail. The continued bombing and blockade of the Israeli forces over the past eight months has killed over 36,000 Palestinians including 15,000 women and children.

Addressing the protestors, Sitaram Yechury, CPI(M) general secretary said that it has become clear before the world that what transpired in Palestine is not a war but a full-fledged genocide against unarmed Palestinian people. “What is happening is not a war, but a genocide. War is between two armies, both sides have weapons. Here, the attack is on unarmed people. This is unacceptable”, he said.

Yechury added that this was the result of more than a hundred year old imperialist conspiracy since the Balfour declaration as it had led to violent dispossession of two thirds of the Palestinians out of their homeland in 1948 (Nakba). Reminiscing his student days, he stated: “When we were students, it used to be written on passports that it is not valid for Israel and South Africa…” But today we find the Narendra Modi-led government going on its knees to support the regime under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel. The current Modi regime has deviated from our foreign policy of allying with the Palestinian cause. He demanded an immediate retreat from all trade relations with Israel.

Commending the demonstrators, who had gathered to express their outrage on the recent attack on Rafah, as part of the continuing Israeli offensive on Gaza, Yechury said: “The whole world should create pressure on Israel to stop the offensive”. He concluded his address by demanding Netanyahu to be tried by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for war crimes.

Brinda Karat, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member listed the four demands of the protest. These were, upholding of the International Court of Justice order on Rafah, a total ceasefire, the stopping of shameless supply of arms to Israel by the India government and Netanyahu’s arrest for war crimes. She added that Netanyahu’s courage in spite of the international community turning against him comes from the support of US imperialism.

Brinda Karat said that it is a shame on Israel, which is killing thousands of women and children and bombing hospitals, schools and shelters. It is a shame, she said, that the present government of India is extending its support to Israel and is meek in its condemnation of the genocide committed in Palestine. The BJP government is reneging on its support to Palestine, she stated. Continuing her criticism, she said that the current Modi regime parrots the US line. “Still worse, Adani’s joint venture in Hyderabad manufactures drones to be used against Palestine civilians as was exposed after India’s ammunition shipments to Israel were intercepted in Spain”, she said. It is only from the Spanish sources we came to know about this criminal act, she pointed.

Brinda Karat demanded Indian government to cut all its defence ties with Israel and unflinchingly stand with the people of Palestine. She saluted the coming together of all organisations under the umbrella of the Palestinian Solidarity Committee for this massive demonstration.

Eminent intellectual Achin Vanaik underlined that Israel has already killed 5 per cent of the Palestinian population through this drive. He pointed out to the various UN Resolutions which Israel is violating with impunity, “because it is confident of the US support”.

Delhi deputy mayor Aaley Mohammad Iqbal (AAP) also extended his solidarity to the Palestinian cause.

Representatives of Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, Janwadi Mahila Samiti, SFI, DYFI, AIDSO, KYS, AISA, CPI(ML-New Democracy), CITU, Disha and Collective spoke at the protest gathering.  The meeting was conducted by Anurag Saxena, CITU Delhi state secretary. 

All the speakers demanded in one voice an immediate ceasefire and the establishment of a free Palestine State with pre-1967 borders and East Jerusalem as the capital. They condemned the ongoing Israeli attack on Rafah and added that this attack is being carried out ignoring the directions given by the ICJ and world public opinion.

The protesters displayed placards demanding a ceasefire, stopping the supply of arms to Israel, an end to the violence, and also raised slogans in support of Palestine. A large number of students with hand-written placards prepared by themselves sang songs and shouted slogans that called for the ‘death to settler colonialism and imperialism’. Their anger and determination showed that Delhi’s universities are also not going to get cowed down by the government crackdown.

On behalf of the people of India, representatives of all these organisations reiterated their solidarity with Palestine and had condemned the continuing US support to Israel. They urged the government of India to immediately declare its unflinching solidarity with Palestine and withdraw from all defence and security agreements with Israel.



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