Mindless violence in Palestine must stop: IndiaMarch 5th, 2008 - 12:56 am ICT by admin
New Delhi, March 4 (IANS) In an indirect criticism of Israel, India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday strongly condemned the “disproportionate use of retaliatory force” in “occupied Palestine” and appealed to all parties to bring “mindless violence” to an end. “Recent developments are becoming infinitely tragic. Nobody can tolerate this situation,” Mukherjee said at the launch of a book on West Asia authored by Vice-President Hamid Ansari.
“The disproportionate use of retaliatory force has inflicted massive civilian casualties, including the death of innocents. Mindless violence must stop,” Mukherjee stressed in a reference to the relentless Israeli strikes in Gaza.
“This situation is really deplorable. The government of India has urged all parties concerned to bring an end to this cycle of violence,” he said, while underlining India’s commitment to peace in West Asia and the Palestinian cause.
“Violence can’t go on any longer. West Asia has been in the eye of a storm for many years. Peace in West Asia appears to be an illusory hope,” he added.
This is the third time India has spoken out in less than a month against the spiral of violence engulfing Palestine.
“The government of India is dismayed at the continuing violence in Occupied Palestine, particularly in the Gaza Strip,” the external affairs ministry spokesperson had said in a statement Saturday as a fresh Israeli assault in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip killed more than 30 Palestinians.
“At a time we are accused of having forgotten our Arab neighbours, it’s a reminder that the Arab cause is still with us today,” Minister of Panchayati Raj Youth Affairs and Sports Mani Shankar Aiyar said while commending Ansari for bringing out intricate geopolitics of the region in his book “Travelling Through Conflict: Essays on the Politics of West Asia.”
Quoting from Ansari’s book, Aiyar also made a strong plea for a just settlement of the Palestinian issue. “Justice is non-negotiable. It’s not part of political bargaining,” he said.
Over 60 people, many of them civilians, have been killed since a fresh bout of fighting erupted last week after Israel launched air strikes on suspected Hamas hideouts in Gaza Strip.
Mukherjee also lauded Ansari, the first career diplomat who has served as India’s ambassador to Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Afghanistan to become vice-president of the country, as an intellectual giant who has enriched his book with scholarship and insight.
He also commended Ansari, who is also ex-officio chairman of the Rajya Sabha, for bringing decorum to the upper house where chaos and frequent disruptions have become the norm.
“I have seen the transformation of the Rajya Sabha” under his leadership, Mukherjee said.
‘Traveling Through Conflict’ deals with contemporary questions pertaining to religion and politics in the Muslim world, as well as their implications for state policy and root causes blocking efforts at peace in the region.