New Delhi: India's foreign secretary Harsh Shringla on Monday called on Israel and Palestine to exercise restraint during his address at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) monthly meeting on the Middle East Peace Process including on the Palestinian Question.
Speaking at the meet, Shringla said, "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."
This is to be noted that May this year saw a full-blown crisis between the two sides that lasted for 11 days. The situation escalated after violence in Jerusalem and the possible eviction of Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhood. Over 250 Palestinians died in Gaza, while 10 Israelis were killed in the rocket firing and violence.
On the current situation in the Palestinian territories, Shringla called on for "regular and predictable transfer of aid and other essential items to Gaza to ease the humanitarian situation" and "facilitate early reconstruction, as well as for appropriate use of such aid".
He pointed out that it is important that the international donor community supports the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip through the Palestinian Authority while taking note of incremental relaxation of restrictions for entry of commodities into the Gaza Strip" urging the parties to "work together to ensure timely access to such relief for the Palestinians.
Recently, Israel, Qatar and the UN had reached an agreement for the transfer of cash payment to needy Palestinian families in the Gaza Strip. Around 1 lakh families will get monthly cash assistance of $100.
During the address, India asked both the parties to refrain from unilateral measures that undermine the viability of the two-State solution.
He also welcomed the decision by Israel to increase the number of work permits issued to Palestinians which "will help strengthen both the Palestinian and Israeli economies" and recognition of COVID-vaccination certificates issued by the Palestinian Authority and the facilitation of passage of patients from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank which he described as "positive signals".
India has helped in building schools, setting up ICT and Vocational Training Centers, a Technology Park and a National Printing Press even as it has been supporting several other quick-impact community projects in Palestine. During the address, the foreign secretary also reiterated calls for "resumption of direct peace negotiations" and "long-standing and firm commitment to the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable State of Palestine, within secure, recognized and mutually agreed borders, living side by side with Israel in peace and security".
Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla chaired the meet as the president of the council. India, notably, is the president of the UNSC for the month of August and as the president, it decides the issues be taken by the council. India will now be the president of the top UN body next in December 2022.