Heartbreaking: India on Israeli airstrike in Rafah

India also welcomed the decision by Spain, Norway and Ireland to recognise Palestine and reiterated its call for a two-state solution.


Published May 31, 2024 | 1:28 PMUpdatedMay 31, 2024 | 1:28 PM

File photo of the destruction in Palestine.

The “heartbreaking” loss of civilian lives in Rafah is a matter of “deep concern”, India said on Thursday, 30 May, days after an Israeli airstrike killed 45 people at a camp for displaced people in the conflict zone that triggered massive global outrage.

India also appeared to welcome the coordinated decision by Spain, Norway and Ireland to formally recognise Palestine and reiterated its call for a two-state solution to the conflict.

“The heartbreaking loss of civilian lives in the displacement camp in Rafah is a matter of deep concern for us,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said.

“We have consistently called for protection of the civilian population and respect for international humanitarian law in the ongoing conflict,” he said.

Jaiswal was responding to a question on the situation in Gaza at his weekly media briefing.

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45 people killed

Local officials in Gaza said 45 people were killed in the 26 May air strike, most of them sheltering in tents. The strike triggered global outrage including criticism from some of Israel’s closest allies.

“We also note that the Israeli side has already accepted responsibility for it as a tragic incident and announced an investigation into the incident,” he said.

On Spain, Ireland and Norway recognising Palestine in the midst of the conflict, Jaiswal said India had done it way back in the 1980s.

“India recognised Palestine way back in the 1980s. It has been our long-standing position that we support a two-state solution which entails the establishment of a sovereign, viable and independent state of Palestine within recognised and mutually agreed borders, living side by side with Israel in peace,” he said.

“What they are doing now, we already did in the 1980s,” Jaiswal said.

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Western European nations to recognise Palestine

The move by the three Western European nations to recognise Palestine is seen as an attempt to exert pressure on Israel to stop its military offensive in Gaza.

Israel claims that it has been continuing its military offensive in Gaza as part of its retaliation to the unprecedented attack on Israeli cities by Hamas on 7 October last year.

It said Hamas killed around 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped more than 220 others, some of whom were released during a brief ceasefire.

Over 35,000 people have been killed in Gaza in the Israeli offensive, according to the Hamas-run authorities in Gaza.

India has been calling for de-escalation of the situation and creating conditions for an early resumption of direct peace negotiations towards a two-state solution to the Palestine issue.

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