Palestinian envoy backs bigger Indian role in Middle East peace

March 12th, 2008 - 8:16 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 12 (IANS) Calling for international intervention, Palestinian ambassador to India Osama Musa Wednesday urged India and other like-minded countries to put pressure on the US to bring an end to “the Israeli occupation of Palestine”. “The international community must intervene to bring an end to the brutal occupation of Palestine by Israel,” Musa told reporters here.

“They sent NATO force to resolve crises in Bosnia and Kosovo. Why don’t they send NATO force to end Israeli occupation also?” Musa asked.

Realizing the implications of sending a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) force to Palestine, the envoy quickly clarified that he was talking about international intervention in Palestine in which the UN, NATO and other organisations can participate.

“India, along with other countries, can put pressure on America to end the brutal and unjust occupation of Palestine by Israel,” he said while pitching for a bigger role for India in the peace process in the Middle East.

The envoy, however, was tactful when asked to comment on India’s growing ties with Israel, saying it was a sovereign choice of every country to decide on the course of its foreign relations.

“We are looking for a greater role for India in West Asia. India’s expressions of solidarity with the Palestinian cause will help support peace process in the region,” Ahmed Salem Al-Wahishi, head of the League of Arab States mission, said here while thanking India for its “principled position of support for the Palestinian cause.

“Ambassadors of Arab countries have sent a letter to the Indian external affairs ministry expressing appreciation of India’s principled position calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” Al-Wahishi said.

In a virtual criticism of Israel, India came out with three statements over the last one month expressing concern at “continuing violence in Occupied Palestine”. Last week, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee strongly condemned the “disproportionate use of retaliatory force” in “occupied Palestine” and appealed to all parties to bring “mindless violence” to an end.

Alluding to India’s presence at a US-sponsored international conference on the Middle East peace process in Annapolis last year, Al-Wahishi said it was a ecognition of India’s growing role in the peace process in the region.

“It (India) is a big country in our continent. Such a big country has a role in the peace process,” Al-Wahishi stressed.

In a scathing criticism of Israel’s policy towards Palestine, the Palestinian envoy stressed that the Israeli occupation of Palestine is the root cause of violence in the region.

“The peace process is a big mistake. You can’t compare the actions of the state with those of groups,” he said while referring to the ongoing violence in Gaza in which Israel deployed military force to allegedly repulse attacks from the Hamas-controlled Gaza.

“Occupier is the violence-maker. They have maintained their control over Palestine for the last 60 years not through biscuits and chocolates but through rockets,” he said and added the US was dictating Israel’s policy towards Palestine.

“Can a slave negotiate with the master?” he said while calling the peace process a big mistake that entails a dialogue between the oppressor and the oppressed.

“We want justice. Arab world will normalize its relations with Israel only after the end of the Israeli occupation of Palestine,” he said.

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