Israel’s murderous assault on Gaza is now reaching genocidal proportions with over 1500 Palestinians killed and many thousands gravely injured, three-quarters of them admitted to be civilians, even by the Israeli authorities, and many of them small children, women, and the elderly.


Gaza was acknowledged as the world’s largest open-air prison for many years, with the Israelis keeping tight control over the entry of goods, including foods, essential medicines, and other supplies, and the exit of people, just as happens in a jail.  It is hardly a wonder that people kept in this desperate condition for years on end without hope of change occasionally choose to rebel with whatever limited means they have. Israel is one of the world’s major military superpowers with hundreds of atomic bombs and missiles in its arsenal.  The Palestinians in Gaza meanwhile have some homemade rockets without guidance systems while their counterparts in the West Bank have stones and slingshots.


Yet this grotesque asymmetry is trotted out in a shameful statement by the BJP government that somehow tries to “balance” its criticism of both sides – as if there was any “side” apart from an oppressive regime that even a former U.S. President characterized as an apartheid government and a desperate oppressed people on the other. The BJP regime refused to allow a resolution condemning Israel for its strikes on civilians in Gaza.   Given its absolute majority in Parliament, the opposition had little recourse except to make some verbal points in the debate.


For the last few decades, Israel has become an important supplier of arms to India and this has been reflected in a progressive erosion of India’s earlier firm moral support to the just cause of Palestine liberation.  This erosion will doubtless continue apace under the BJP government, where India is all set to join the U.S. and a few of its allies as one of the handful of supporters of Israel on the world stage. An op-ed in a recent issue of the Hindu newspaper pointed out “the BJP’s top leaderships’ close ties with Israel, given that Prime Minister Modi had travelled as Gujarat Chief Minister to Israel in 2006, promising to return if he became Prime Minister.  As Home Minister, L.K. Advani was the first senior Minister to visit Israel in 2000, and External affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj once chaired the India-Israel parliamentary friendship group and led a delegation there.”


Most of world opinion is now turning against Israel for its continued denial of Palestinian rights and the maintenance of an oppressive occupation regime.  Progressive people in India should demand that the recently elected government should not cast its lot with the Israeli regime and should instead support the just demands of the Palestinian people for freedom and dignity.

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