India abstained from voting in a UN resolution on Palestine seeking accountability by the parties involved in 2014 conflict in Gaza where more than thousand Palestinians were killed. This is first time ever that India has abstained from voting on a UN resolution concerning Palestine. However, it maintained that there was no change in its long standing position on support to the Palestinian cause.
“There is no change in India’s long standing position on support to the Palestinian cause,” official spokesperson of the External Affairs Ministry told the press in New Delhi.
The resolution was taken up at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Friday evening (local time). The subject of resolution was to ensure “accountability and justice for all violations of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem”. The resolution was eventually adopted with 41 nations voting in its favour and just one against.
Besides India, four other nations-Ethiopia, Kenya, Macedonia and Paraguay-also abstained from the voting.
Explaining India’s stand to abstain from the vote, Permanent Representative of India to the United
Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), Ajit Kumar said, “We are not a party to the Rome Statute or the International Criminal Court (ICC) for reasons that have been enumerated earlier. Taking that into account India has decided to abstain from this resolution”.
The Union External Affairs ministry too reasoned with the abstention.
“In the past also, whenever a Human Rights Council resolution had made a direct reference to the ICC, as had happened in the Resolutions on Syria and North Korea, our general approach had been to abstain. We have followed the same principle in our voting on today’s Resolution,” official spokesperson of the MEA said.
The resolution seeking accountability was necessitated after the report of the Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict was taken up by the Council. 1,462 innocent civilians were killed and more than 11,000 were left wounded in Palestine after the 50-day Gaza war in 2014. Six civilians on the Israeli side had lost their lives too.
The EU, as a whole, supported the resolution while the US voted against the resolution, saying it was biased against Israel.
Israel has now condemned the resolution, call it “anti-Israel manifesto”.
“This Council has lost its bearing. I have no interest in debating the content of the resolution; it is an anti-Israel manifesto,” said the Israeli Ambassador to UNOG, Eviatar Manor.
Earlier, while welcoming the resolution, Palestine had urged nations to vote in its favour.
“Those who oppose the resolution or abstain from voting will be contributing to ongoing violations and abuses against civilians,” Ibrahim Khraishi, Ambassador to the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to UNOG had said.
Back home, the Opposition criticised Narendra Modi government from abstaining to vote in the resolution.
“We strongly condemn this decision. It is clearly in preparation to the Prime Minister’s visit to Israel. Modi has completely reversed India’s support to the Palestinian people, for their right to homeland,” CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said in New Delhi.
(With inputs from the PTI)