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SOURCE: HT

India on Thursday expressed concern at the continuing violence in Jerusalem, especially at Haram Al Sharif and other Palestinian territories, and the possible eviction of people in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem.

New Delhi’s concerns were conveyed in a statement by Indra Mani Pandey, the country’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva, during a special session of the Human Rights Council. India also welcomed diplomatic efforts by the world community and regional countries that led to the ceasefire between Israel and armed groups in Gaza.

As with India’s statement on May 20 at the UN General Assembly debate on the question of Palestine, the statement at the UN Human Rights Council contained no reference to India’s traditional stance of supporting the “just Palestinian cause” but reiterated backing for a two-state solution.

Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian group that runs Gaza Strip, reached a ceasefire on May 20 following 11 days of hostilities that killed more than 250 Palestinians, including 66 children, and 12 people in Israel, including two children and an Indian national. The truce brokered by Egypt has been threatened by tensions over Jerusalem.

Israel’s Supreme Court is currently hearing a case related to the eviction of Palestinian residents from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, a matter that ignited tensions between Israelis and Palestinians. A lower court in Jerusalem is also hearing appeals filed on behalf of seven Palestinian families who are opposing their eviction from Silwan neighbourhood.

“We remain concerned about the continuing violence in Jerusalem, especially at Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount and other Palestinian territories, and about the possible eviction process in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem, an area which is part of an arrangement facilitated by the UN,” Pandey said in his statement.

“India calls on all parties to show extreme restraint, desist from actions that aggravate tensions and refrain from any further attempts to unilaterally change the existing status quo, including in East Jerusalem and its neighbourhoods,” he added.

Pandey reiterated India’s condemnation of Hamas’ “indiscriminate rocket firings from Gaza targeting the civilian population in Israel” and said both the rockets and Israel’s “retaliatory air strikes into Gaza” over the last two weeks had caused immense suffering and resulted in deaths.

“We deeply mourn the loss of civilian lives resulting from the violence, and urge the international community’s immediate attention to providing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian civilian population, particularly in Gaza,” he said.

India is continuing to provide developmental and humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian Authority, including Covid-19-related aid bilaterally and through contributions to the UN, Pandey said.

“India remains firmly convinced that dialogue remains the only viable option that can effectively address the issues confronting the region and its people. Recent developments have once again underscored the need for immediate resumption of dialogue between Israel and Palestine, aimed at realising the establishment of two States living side by side in peace within secure and recognised borders,” he said.