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Political settlement of Palestine is the real issue, says convention

K.V. Prasad

Speakers criticise pro-Israeli tilt in India’s foreign and security policies

“We have to break strong collaboration with Israel”

Democratic countries should stand together: Bardhan

— Photo: V. Sudershan

EXPRESSING SOLIDARITY: CPI(M) general secretary Prakash Karat with Prince of Arcot Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali and Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu N. Ram at a convention for solidarity with Palestine, in New Delhi on Saturday.

NEW DELHI: Prominent political leaders, academicians, intellectuals and media personalities on Saturday joined together to raise public opinion against military aggression by Israel against Palestinians, reminding the real issue was the struggle for a political settlement.

Speakers at a convention for ‘Solidarity with Palestine’ here criticised the pro-Israeli tilt in India’s foreign and security policies and said an attempt was being made to divert the real issue of Palestine from political settlement to a humanitarian one.

“The purpose [of recent attack and the siege before] was to show to the people, that those in Gaza as well as in West Bank have no claim as people of Palestine. Now everyone talks of it as a ‘basket case’ and dependent on international aid,” Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat said.

He suggested that a committee being set up after the convention to express solidarity with the people of Palestine will also have to wage a struggle against the policy of the government of India that has deep military ties with Israel.

“We have to break the strong collaboration with Israel, stop the tilt, reverse the ties and restore India’s independent foreign policy.” As the first step, he said, an initiative would be taken to obtain signatures from MPs asking the government to cancel the Rs.10,000-crore missile deal with an Israeli company, being probed for alleged kickback in the earlier Barak missile purchase.

Besides being a strategic issue, he said, it was also a question of economy since the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation has produced a better missile system at home.

CPI general secretary A.B. Bardhan felt that all democratic countries should stand together and intensify the campaign against the Israeli attacks for a political settlement of the issue.

Telugu Desam Party’s Uma Reddy Venkateswarulu too lamented silence on the part of New Delhi and suggested five steps, including implementation of the U.N. Security Council resolution and making Israel pay compensation for severe damage caused by the attacks.

In his speech, Nawab Mohammed Abdul Ali, the Prince of Arcot, said that if all Muslim countries in the world together raised their voice on the Palestine issue things would change. He also gave a historical perspective to the problem.

N. Ram, Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu, said the gravity of Israeli aggression and its genocidal nature has not been analysed properly. He referred to the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s response in his interview to the paper earlier this week. The U.N. has estimated the damage to be around $613 million and that a donor’s conference was being held in Cairo, Egypt, in March.

“To treat it as humanitarian is relevant but primarily it is a political question,” he said, noting that the current exercise can draw inspiration from an encouraging precedence when various parties and people formed a committee for solidarity with Cuba.

Resolution moved

Mr. Ram also moved a resolution adopted by the convention. It demanded the government to reverse the pro-Israel foreign and security policies; snap military ties with Israel; cancel the Rs.10,000-crore missile deal; boycott all goods from illegal Israeli settlements on the West Bank; and take an initiative on Palestine along with other non-aligned countries.

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