New Delhi: India, on Monday, August 30, expressed concern at the recent escalation in the Gaza Strip and urged all parties to 'refrain' from unilateral actions that undermine the viability of the two-State solution.
"We call on all parties to the conflict to respect the ceasefire and refrain from acts that could exacerbate tensions and worsen the security situation. We recognize the efforts made by the UN and regional countries to prevent the hostilities from escalating into another military conflict," Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla said in his statement at the UNSC meeting on the 'Middle East Peace Process, including the Palestine Question'.
He called for a regular and predictable transfer of aid and other essential items to Gaza to ease the humanitarian situation and facilitate early reconstruction.
The situation had deteriorated in May this year, and over 250 Palestinians died in Gaza, while 10 Israelis were also killed in the rocket firing. A full-blown crisis between the two sides lasted for 11 days. The situation had escalated after violence in Jerusalem and the possible eviction of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhood. The West Bank continues to witness violence and clashes between the Palestinians and Israeli security forces, the Foreign Secretary said.
"Both sides must desist from provocative action in the interest of peace and stability." He further said that amidst these concerns, the decision by Israel to increase the number of work permits issued to Palestinians would help strengthen both the Palestinian and Israeli economies.
It may be mentioned that the death of a 31-year-old Indian Catholic caregiver, Soumya Santhosh, in Israel following a Hamas rocket attack has divided opinion in India about the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Gaza is sandwiched between Israel and Egypt and is just 25 miles (40 kilometres) long and six miles (10 kilometres) wide. It was part of the British-ruled Palestine Mandate before the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation when it came under Egypt's control.
A large number of Palestinians who fled or were driven from what is now Israel ended up in Gaza, and the refugees and their descendants now number 1.4 million, accounting for more than half of Gaza's population. Israel captured Gaza, along with the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in the 1967 Mideast war.