In the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Palestine, where the death toll has tragically surpassed 11,000, including 4,500 children, voices of condemnation and calls for an immediate ceasefire have emerged from various quarters, particularly the Congress and other Opposition parties.
India's main opposition party, the Congress, criticized both Israel's actions and the Hamas terror attack on October 7. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, in a post on X dated October 19, expressed grave concern over the loss of innocent lives, especially children, in Gaza. He condemned the collective punishment imposed on millions through the disruption of essential services, asserting that such actions constitute crimes against humanity. Despite condemning Hamas' attacks on Israelis and taking hostages, Gandhi emphasized the urgent need to halt the cycle of violence between Israel and Palestine.
The Congress's stand on the Israel-Palestine issue has been consistent, as highlighted by Congress Parliamentary Party chairperson Sonia Gandhi on October 30. In an article, she clarified that the party supports direct negotiations for a sovereign, independent, viable, and secure state of Palestine coexisting peacefully with Israel. Sonia Gandhi criticized India's abstention from voting for a ceasefire in Gaza, emphasizing the importance of upholding India's historic position on Palestine.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the Congress of engaging in vote-bank politics and questioned the last time a senior Congress leader wrote on an international conflict. BJP leader Sudhanshu Trivedi stressed the need for a clear, categorical, and unequivocal stand against terrorism and international issues, asserting that India's policy should align with its prestige and dignity.
The Congress, on November 17, further condemned Israel's actions in Palestine, denouncing them as "genocidal." Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh criticized influential countries for supporting Israel's actions, highlighting the double standards applied in conflicts like Ukraine and Gaza. Ramesh urged the Indian government to exert pressure on the US, Israel, and the EU to intervene and stop the violence in Gaza.
In response to the criticism, the BJP maintained that the Congress's stance reflects petty vote-bank politics and emphasized the continuity of India's policy on the Palestine issue. The Ministry of External Affairs reiterated Prime Minister Narendra Modi's condemnation of terror attacks against Israel, emphasizing the need for a two-state solution through direct negotiations.
Apart from the Congress, Left parties, including the CPI and CPI-M, openly condemned the attack on civilians in Palestine. They expressed shock over India's abstention from voting for a ceasefire in Gaza, attributing it to the Modi government's alignment with the US-Israel-India nexus, contradicting India's traditional support for the Palestinian cause. The joint statement from CPI and CPI-M called for an immediate ceasefire and a re-energized effort by the United Nations to implement a two-state solution with pre-1967 borders.
(With Agency Inputs)