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India expresses concern over rising tensions in Jerusalem

Asoke Mukerji

United Nations, Nov 25 (PTI) India has expressed deep concern over the rising tensions in Arab-dominated East Jerusalem, stressing the need for restraint and avoidance of provocation, as it hoped that Israel and Palestine will demonstrate necessary political will to resume dialogue.

“We are deeply concerned about rising tensions in East Jerusalem. The imperative need is for urgent de-escalation, for restraint, for avoidance of provocation and for a return to the peace process. Diplomacy and statesmanship have to prevail over hatred and violence; there is no other road to a lasting peace,” Permanent Representative of India to the UN Asoke Mukerji said in a UN General Assembly session yesterday.

Marking the International day of solidarity with the Palestinian People, Mukerji reiterated India’s “unwavering support” for the cause of Palestine and solidarity with the Palestinian people for their struggle.

Mukerji also extended Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support and solidarity for the Palestinian cause. He said India firmly believes that dialogue is the “only viable option” for a durable, comprehensive and peaceful solution to the Palestinian issue.

“We hope that both sides will demonstrate the necessary political will to return to the negotiating table and resume dialogue,” he said, adding that India supports a negotiated solution, resulting in a sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognized borders, side by side and at peace with Israel.

India called for the blockade on Gaza to be fully lifted and humanitarian supplies and desperately-needed materials for reconstruction be allowed in without restrictions.

“The suffering of the people in Gaza persists in the aftermath of this summer’s conflict which resulted in tragic loss of civilian lives, especially women and children and extensive destruction of houses and infrastructure,” he said.

The fighting – which raged from July 8 to August 26 – saw entire neighbourhoods in the Strip flattened, and almost one-third of Gaza’s population uprooted.

The violence killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, and more than 70 Israelis while also damaging or destroying over 100,000 homes.

Mukerji said apart from strong political support to the Palestinian cause, India continues to support the development and nation-building efforts of Palestine by consistently extending technical and financial assistance.

It has contributed a million dollars annually to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

India has recently pledged USD four million in response to the National Early Recovery & Reconstruction Plan for Gaza.

India is implementing development projects in Palestine, jointly with Brazil and South Africa within the framework of IBSA, and has pledged USD a million dollars for a new project to reconstruct the Atta Habib medical centre in Gaza.

Invoking the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, Mukerji said the need of hour is to adhere to his ideology of non-violence and “eschew hatred and violence.”

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