India ‘dismayed’ at Gaza killings

March 1st, 2008 - 9:56 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 1 (IANS) As a fresh Israeli assault in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip killed more than 30 Palestinians Saturday, India expressed “dismay at the disproportionate use of retaliatory force” by Israel and called for an “immediate end” to violence in the region. “The government of India is dismayed at the continuing violence in Occupied Palestine, particularly in the Gaza Strip,” external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said in a statement.

“Events this week, including the disproportionate use of retaliatory force, have led to avoidable civilian casualties, including the death of innocent children. This is unacceptable,” he said.

“India strongly urges an immediate end to the cycle of violence by all parties concerned so that the focus is not lost on the process of dialogue-driven conflict resolution,” he underlined.

This is the second statement by the external affairs ministry in less than a month, expressing New Delhi’s concern on the escalation of violence in Gaza.

The government’s strongly-worded reaction, a reiteration of India’s commitment to the Palestinian cause, was made with an eye on its Left allies, who have criticised it for launching the Israeli spy satellite TecSar and suspected in the launch a sign of the pro-Israel and pro-US tilt of the country’s foreign policy.

Last month, India strongly denounced the use of force on the civilian population of Palestine and called “upon all sides, including Israel, to exercise restraint”.

India has also offered additional assistance to help the people of Palestine to overcome their suffering and hardships.

India supports the Egyptian government’s move to address humanitarian needs through dialogue among the Palestinian groups and backs an immediate restoration of normalcy in the violence-torn region.

Violence between the Israeli army and Gaza militants escalated after the Gaza-Egypt border was sealed in February.

Over 60 Palestinians have been killed this week in Israel’s response to a wave of rocket attacks launched from Hamas-controlled Gaza into southern Israel. One of the attacks killed an Israeli civilian Wednesday. Israeli officials have warned of a major ground invasion if the attacks do not cease.

Thousands of Palestinians gathered in Gaza Friday to condemn Israel’s air strikes.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has urged Israel and Hamas to stop the violence.

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