New Delhi: Communist Party of India (CPI) MP Binoy Viswam on Thursday termed India’s decision to abstain from voting in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on the Palestine issue an “act of abstinence” and said that the decision is a departure from India’s previous stance.
CPI MP Viswam wrote to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar to register their protest against the Central government’s decision and said, “in recent times there are reasons to believe that India is shifting from its long lasting policy of support to the Palestinian cause. This led me and my fellow parliamentarians to raise the issue in Rajya Sabha during the discussion on “Latest Developments in India’s Foreign Policy”, wherein you had assured continuity in foreign policy and that no change had taken place since 2014. However, this act of abstinence is a departure from our previous stance and questions the authenticity of your statement in the house. Needless to state that the more we move away from Palestine, the more we move close to Israeli Zionist policy.” Mentioning in the letter that the UNGA resolution was to seek the International Court of Justice’s opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s violation of Palestinian ights, Viswam urged EAM Jaishankar to ensure that “India stands with the oppressed people of Palestine and support their cause in all international platforms, upholding the long-lasting policy of our support to the people’s struggle for freedom and social progress.”
He said that India’s support to the Palestinian cause has been an integral part of the nation’s foreign policy. In 1974, India was the first non-Arab nation to recognise the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) as the sole and legitimate voice of the Palestinian people.
In 1988, India became one of the first countries to recognize the Palestinian State, outside the socialist world. In fact, it was India that had co-sponsored the resolution on right of Palestinians for self-determination in 1998 and the inclusion of Palestine as ‘non-member Observer state’ in 2012, at the UNGA.
Recently, India abstained in the United Nations General Assembly on a resolution that sought an opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal implications of Israel’s “prolonged occupation” and annexation of Palestinian territory.
The draft resolution ‘Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem’ was adopted by recorded vote, with 87 votes in favor, 26 against, and 53 abstentions, including India.
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