In a shocking decision by the sitting government, India voted in favour of a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution condemning Israel for “excessive” use of force against Palestine citizens in Gaza. More shockingly, India abstained on a US-backed amendment that proposed to also condemn violence by Hamas.
On Wednesday, the 193-member General Assembly voted with a majority of 120 votes in favour of the resolution. The resolution condemned Israel for “excessive, disproportionate and indiscriminate force” against Palestine, especially in the Gaza strip. It also blamed Israel for “use of live ammunition against civilian protesters, including children, as well as medical personnel and journalists, and expresses its grave concern at the loss of innocent lives”.
India was one of the 45 countries that abstained from casting a positive or a negative vote. Merely eight countries including the US, Israel, Australia and the pacific nations voted against the resolution. This is not for the first time that India has surprisingly taken the wrong decision of voting against Israel at the world forum despite her proximity and strong alliance with Israel. Israel and India both regard each other as a natural and all weather ally, at such time it is beyond comprehension why the government of India has voted against Israel. In fact, there has been a consistent and unmissable pattern of India voting against Israel and in favour of Palestine at the United Nations. India has been critical of Israel when it comes to voting in UN resolutions. This could go on to become a major irritant between the two countries which have otherwise been on really close terms.
Even at the fag end of last year, India voted against US, Israel on the issue of Jerusalem. While the narrative being pushed was that a single vote does not change a long-standing and natural bilateral relationship, Israel and its mainstream media which is generally sympathetic towards the Indian cause, appeared visibly irked. The biased sections of Indian media kept harping on that this was essentially a policy-balancing decision.
While Israel’s Ambassador to India made it clear that ‘no UN vote’ can change Jerusalem’s status, a frontline Israel media outlet, Jerusalem Post had opined that there is a dissonance between prime minister Modi’s warmth and India’s vote against Israel at the UN. It is clear that Israel though it considers India a major strategic ally despite adverse voting patterns, was miffed at how India voted against Israel at the United Nations resolution concerning Jerusalem.
What happened at the United Nations resolution is a classic example of how not to treat friends at an international forum. Just because there are some extremist and vested interests within India that are adamant on maligning Israel, does not mean the government starts pandering to them. It makes no sense to mix minority appeasement in international relations. This is enough cowardice and appeasement on India’s part as far as Indo-Israel relations are concerned. Now, we must show that we have the strength of speaking up for our true friends and allies at a global level without caring for the political repercussions back home. The government should not care about pseudo-secular elements within the country which constantly act as irritants between Indo-Israel relations. It is a laughable argument that India has an independent policy for Palestine apart from Israel. When we are in such close relationship, how can we remain oblivion to something that concerns them in a very big way. What has Palestine given us all this while? It has infact maintained close relations with Pakistan to India’s detriment. How would we feel if Israel were to support Pakistan and oppose India at a global forum? We are doing exactly that to Israel.