In a first, India refuses to vote against Israel at UN

Brand-new DELHI: India on Friday abstained from a UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) vote for adoption of a UN Inquiry Commission report on Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’ in Gaza last year, which also calls upon both Israel and Palestine to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes.

While 41 countries (including most of the European Union) voted in favour of adopting the report, five, including India, abstained. The US was the only country to vote versus it. Four other countries who abstained were Kenya, Ethiopia, Paraguay and Macedonia.

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While media reports in Israel described India’s decision as “an unprecedented achievement for Israel”, the MEA here was quick to issue a statement saying there was no change in India’s “long standing position on support to the Palestinian cause”.

The NDA government has actually been hard-pressed to convince people that under PM Modi, it is not giving a Brand-new direction to its West Asia policy. The Centre had come under fire in 2014 when it voted in favour of another UNHRC resolution seeking a probe into Israel’s Gaza offensive.

This time, the government said it was the reference to Global Criminal Court (ICC) — which India doesn’t recognize — in the report which had made it abstain. The report also calls upon Israel to cooperate along with the ICC.

Modi will visit Israel later this year, or early next year. He will be the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel since the two countries established full-fledged diplomatic relations in 1992.

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