Palestine FM criticises India for abstention at UN vote

New Delhi

Days after India abstained at the UN Human Rights Council on a resolution proposing to set up a Commission of Inquiry into violations related to Israel’s recent bombardment of Gaza, the foreign minister of the Palestinian National Authority has complained that New Delhi’s abstention “stifles the important work of… advancing human rights for all peoples, including those of the Palestinian people”.

“India missed an opportunity to join the international community at this turning point, both crucial and long overdue, on the path to accountability, justice and peace,” Indian Express quoted Riyad al-Maliki as saying in a sharply worded letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.

India was among 14 countries that abstained on the proposal for an inquiry into the widely condemned human rights violations around the Israeli action in Gaza, and the “systematic” abuses in the Palestinian territories and inside Israel.

Twenty-four members voted in favour, and nine against the resolution that was adopted in Geneva on May 27.

Importantly, in its statement at the Council, India dropped the stock phrase from its statements of the past about extending strong support to the “just Palestinian cause” — signalling a nuanced shift away from the Palestinians and towards Israel, the Express said.

“I write to express our concern by the position taken by Republic of India in the Human Rights Council 30th special session of 27th May 2021 on the seminal resolution…ensuring respect for international human rights law, and humanitarian law in occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem and Israel,” al-Maliki wrote in his letter to Jaishankar on May 30.

“The resolution is not an aberration to the Human Rights Council… It is the byproduct of extensive multilateral consultations.

It is the consolidation of years and thorough investigations into and reporting on Israel’s grave violations by States, United Nations experts, Human Rights treaty bodies and international organizations, without effective accountability measures,” he said.

Indian media says New Delhi is walking the diplomatic tightrope between Israel and Palestine, but has made neither side happy.—Agencies

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