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Sever military ties with Israel: Left

By Our Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI, NOV. 23. Reiterating their commitment to the Palestinian cause, the Left parties today asked the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre to sever India's military ties with Israel forged by the previous National Democratic Alliance Government.

Successive Indian Governments and the people have extended support to the freedom movement of the Palestinians against Israeli occupation, but the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA Government ignored the sentiments of the people and betrayed the Palestinians by cementing ties with Israel, particularly in the field of defence, communist leaders said here at a condolence meeting to pay tributes to the Palestine Liberation Organisation leader, Yasser Arafat.

`Oldest freedom struggle'

Terming the Palestinian movement as one of the oldest freedom struggle in the world, the communist leaders said it was in 1938 that Mahatma Gandhi denounced the illegal occupation of Arab land for a Jewish state. Since then India had always stood behind the Palestinians who were fighting for their freedom. Even the UPA Government's Common Minimum Programme supported the Palestinian movement. So, having ties with Israel was against the spirit of the present Government policies.

Even after the United Nation's resolutions on the Palestinian issue, Israel, with the open support of "imperialist" forces such as the United States and the United Kingdom, never allowed freedom to the Palestinians. Palestine was one "free state" whose citizens were living under Israeli occupation and being subjected to all kind of human rights violations and sufferings. This was totally unacceptable and India would continue to support Palestinians till they were free, the leaders said.

The communist leaders who took part in today's meeting included Harkishan Singh Surjeet and Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), A.B. Bardhan and D. Raja of the Communist Party of India and Abani Roy and Debabrat Biswas of the Revolutionary Socialist Party. The Palestinian Ambassador to India, Osama Musa, and a few of his countrymen paid homage to Arafat.

The imperialist forces that want Palestinians to vacate its claim over their homeland would first have to quit countries such as the U.S., Canada and Australia that they had "occupied illegally" and exploited original inhabitants there, the leaders said adding that Arafat had been a close friend of India. And, New Delhi would continue to support the Palestinian movement till his aim of a free state was realised.

Mr. Musa said while the world asked their "freedom fighters" to shun violence, nobody condemned Israel which has been mercilessly killing innocent Palestinian women and children and denying them the right to live since 1965. The world has recognised Israel so that peace could prevail in the region, but Israel was not ready to shun violence. Palestinian people would continue to fight till their homeland was free, he added.

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