Israel-Palestine Conflict: Oppn slams India's UN vote abstention on Gaza

Modi government's stance "goes against everything the country stood for" in the past, say Opposition leaders of India's refusal to back the call for a humanitarian truce

Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, at a press conference at the Rafah border in North Sinai, Egypt, on 20 October 2023, where aid convoys cross into Gaza (photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images)
Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, at a press conference at the Rafah border in North Sinai, Egypt, on 20 October 2023, where aid convoys cross into Gaza (photo by Mahmoud Khaled/Getty Images)


With India abstaining from voting on a United Nations resolution on the Israel–Palestine conflict, Opposition parties on Saturday, 28 October, asserted that the move goes against everything the country has stood for.

The BJP, meanwhile, stressed that India will never be on the side of "terrorism".

Leaders of parties like the Indian National Congress, the Communist Party of India (CPI), the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP, and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) said they were "shocked" and "ashamed" over India's stand on the Jordan-drafted resolution that called for an "immediate humanitarian truce" and unhindered humanitarian access in the Gaza Strip.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar claimed there was "total confusion" in the approach of the Narendra Modi government to the Palestine issue.

Explaining New Delhi's decision, government sources said India is concerned over the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Gaza but at the same time strongly considers that there can be no "equivocation on terror", noting that the resolution did not include any explicit condemnation of the 7 October attacks by Hamas.

India abstained because all elements of its approach were not covered in the final text of the resolution, the sources said.

In a post on X, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra quoted Mahatma Gandhi's "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind", and was critical of the government's stand.

I am shocked and ashamed that our country has abstained from voting for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress leader

"Our country was founded on the principles of non-violence and truth, principles for which our freedom fighters laid down their lives. These principles form the basis of the Constitution that defines our nationhood," she said.

They represent the moral courage of India that guided its actions as a member of the international community, she added.

To refuse to take a stand and watch in silence as every law of humanity is pulverised; food, water, medical supplies, communication and power is cut off to millions of people; and thousands of men, women and children in Palestine are being annihilated goes against everything our country has stood for throughout its life as a nation.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Congress leader

Reacting to Priyanka Gandhi's remarks, BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi in turn said that those who are ashamed and shocked must realise that India will never be on the side of terrorism.

"India's Explanation of Vote spelt this out categorically. Our position on the Israel–Palestine issue is steadfast and consistent. Those who choose to side with terror do so at their own peril...," the former Union minister for minority affairs posted on X.

"On a lighter note, Priyanka-ji, you should first educate yourself on things that are put out from your X account," he gibed. "Looks like people who have no idea of Congress's past positions on the situation are advising you."

"What is worse is that in an attempt to make you look 'better' than Rahul (Gandhi), they are making you look silly," Naqvi continued, getting rather personal.

Congress' general secretary (organisation) K.C. Venugopal also slammed the central government over the move.

In a post on X, he quoted Bishop Desmond Tutu, saying, 'If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.'

When the innocent citizens of Gaza are being pounded with air strikes and ground invasions, it was India’s moral duty to support a ceasefire. Only a heartless and fascist regime would abstain.
KC Venugopal, Congress' general secretary (organisation)

"Truly ashamed of our vote at the UN," he said.

BSP MP Danish Ali said he had never imagined that India would leave the oppressed to their fate.

I urge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protect our special identity in the world by living up to the basic principles of humanity and play a role in saving the suffering children and drowning humanity in Gaza.
Danish Ali, BSP minister of Parliament (translated from Hindi)

In a post on Facebook, Ali said that the Israeli army is killing Palestinians and the world is watching it as though it is an action movie.

"And many stone-hearted people are rejoicing over the killing of innocent children or counting the dead bodies," he said.

"India was founded on the principles of truth and non-violence, the core principles for which our freedom fighters sacrificed their lives, these principles are the basis of the Indian Constitution that defines our nationhood and unique identity in the world.

"They represent India's moral courage that has guided its actions as a member of the international community," he said.

The CPI(M) and the CPI also put out statements that India abstaining from voting on the United Nations resolution is "shocking" and shows that Indian foreign policy is now shaped by "being a subordinate ally of US imperialism".

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and CPI general secretary D Raja said in a joint statement, titled 'Stop this Genocidal Aggression in Gaza', that India's move negates its longstanding support to the Palestinian cause.

It is shocking that India abstained on a Resolution overwhelmingly adopted by the UN General Assembly calling for a humanitarian truce titled 'Protection of civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations' in the ongoing Israeli offensive in Gaza
joint statement from CPI(M) and CPI

At the UN, India said that terrorism is a "malignancy" and knows no borders, nationality or race and that the world should not buy into any justification of terror acts, as it abstained on a resolution on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Replying to a question at a press conference, former defence minister Pawar however said that India has never before supported the way Gaza is being attacked:

Today, there is total confusion in the Indian government's policy. I have never seen such confusion from the Indian government over the Palestine and Gaza issue.
The first statement of the PM totally supported Israel. When there was a reaction from the outside world and (within) India, the foreign ministry took a different line and spoke in favour of Palestine.
Sharad Pawar, NCP leader and former union minister of defence

AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi said it is "shocking" that India abstained from voting for the UN General Assembly resolution.

In a message posted on X, the Hyderabad MP also noted the inconsistencies in the Modi government's foreign policy:

@narendramodi condemned the Hamas attack but couldn’t agree to a UN resolution seeking a truce. He spoke to the Jordanian king a few days ago, but abstained on a resolution that was introduced by Jordan. It is an inconsistent foreign policy.
Asaduddin Owaisi, AIMIM leader

"It is shocking that (the Narendra Modi) govt abstained on the UN resolution for a humanitarian truce and protection," he added.

The resolution, which garnered 121 votes in favour, 44 abstentions and 14 member states voting against, also demanded the immediate, continuous, sufficient and unhindered provision of essential goods and services to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip.

Over 1,400 people were killed in the unprecedented attacks on Israel by Hamas on 7 October. Hamas also took more than 220 people hostage.

Israel then launched retaliatory strikes.

The health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza said on Saturday, 28 October, that over 7,700 Palestinians have died since 7 October in the Israeli onslaught. 

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