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India Maintains Ongoing Communication With Israeli And Palestinian Leaders, Affirms Ambassador Kamboj At UNGA

Story Highlights
  • As member states spoke to the full assembly, dozens of rabbis protested on the balcony inside the Security Council rooms.
  • They interrupted the General Assembly plenary session to demand that the US stop blocking the UN from acting right away to end the fighting in Gaza for good.

India says it is always in touch with the leaders of Israel and Palestine. Since the start of the latest Middle East conflict, India’s “clear and consistent” message has been to stop the conflict from getting worse so that relief aid can keep coming in and peace and stability can be restored quickly.

Indian Ambassador to the UN Ruchira Kamboj spoke in front of the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, “The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has led to a large-scale loss of civilian lives, especially women and children, and has resulted in an alarming humanitarian crisis.”

It was clear that this was wrong, and the deaths of civilians were strongly criticized, she said.

She made it clear that India knows the immediate cause was the horrific terrorist attacks in Israel on October 7. These attacks “deserve our unequivocal condemnation.” India will not stand for terrorists at all costs. No reason can be given for terrorists and taking hostages. Kamboj said that India wants the hostages to be freed right away and without any conditions.

Kamboj told the 193-member UNGA that “India’s leadership is in constant contact with the leaders of the region, including those of Israel and Palestine.” “India has sent a clear and consistent message since the beginning of this conflict.” To keep sending humanitarian help and work toward quickly restoring peace and stability, it is important to keep the situation from getting worse. The only way forward is for the issue to be solved peacefully through talks and diplomacy, she said.

Kamboj was speaking at a meeting of the General Assembly on Tuesday that was called after the US rejected a Russian amendment to a Security Council resolution on December 22, 2023. The amendment was about getting humanitarian aid to the whole Gaza strip.

The 15-nation Council passed a motion written by the United Arab Emirates that called for more humanitarian aid to be sent to Gaza but did not call for a ceasefire.

The Council passed the motion with 13 votes in favor, 0 votes against, and Russia and the US abstentions. This came after days of intense talks and delays in the vote.

The US, as a permanent member of the Council, used its veto power to stop Russia’s suggested change to the resolution from going through. The UNGA meeting on Tuesday was called because of this veto. This means that whenever any of the five regular members of the Security Council use their veto power, the UNGA has to meet and talk about it.

India was happy that the Security Council decision to help the people of Gaza get more humanitarian aid was passed, and it praised the UAE’s “able leadership” in guiding the text.

Kamboj said that India has spoken out against the conflict in multilateral settings like the G20, BRICS, and the Voice of the Global South Summit in November 2023. India held the same strong position on the problem as it has always done. India has also asked for more humanitarian aid to be sent to the people who have been affected. Kamboj said that he hoped that the Security Council decision that was passed in December would help improve humanitarian aid.

Kamboj told the General Assembly that India has given 70 tonnes of humanitarian help to the people of Palestine so far, with 16.5 tonnes of medicine and medical supplies sent in two parts.

India has also given five million dollars, of which two and a half million dollars were given to the UNRWA’s Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East in December. She said that this money would be used to support the agency’s main programs and services, such as the education, health care, help, and social services for Palestinian refugees.

Kamboj said again that India is fully committed to finding a fair, peaceful, and long-lasting answer to the problem between Israel and Palestine. “We are sure that the people of Israel and Palestine can only have the lasting peace they want and deserve if there is a two-state solution that is reached through direct and meaningful negotiations between both sides on issues of final status.” She said that India wants the situation to calm down, avoid bloodshed, and work toward making things possible so that direct peace talks can start up again soon.

Ambassador Robert Wood, who is the US Mission to the UN’s Alternate Representative for Special Political Affairs, said that the adoption of the UNSC resolution showed that Washington was ready to work with other Council members to speak out about this humanitarian situation.

“This work backs up the direct diplomacy the US is using to get more aid into Gaza and help free hostages there.” “It’s too bad that instead of helping with the hard work of diplomacy, one permanent member of the Security Council keeps putting forward changes and ideas that have nothing to do with what’s happening on the ground,” he said, referring to the Moscow amendment that Washington turned down.

As member states spoke to the full assembly, dozens of rabbis protested on the balcony inside the Security Council rooms. They interrupted the General Assembly plenary session to demand that the US stop blocking the UN from acting right away to end the fighting in Gaza for good.

Rabbis 4 Ceasefire, Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ), Jewish Voice for Peace, and IfNotNow helped organize the event. The 36 rabbis said prayers and parts of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. They also held a memorial service while holding signs that said “Biden: The World Says Ceasefire,” “Biden: Stop Vetoing Peace,” and “Biden: Rabbis Demand Ceasefire Now.” A press statement said that security led the rabbis out of the UN building.

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