'Deeply concerned' over govt's stand on recent Israel-Palestine conflict: Congress

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New Delhi, Jun 1 (PTI) The Congress on Tuesday expressed deep concern over India's stand on the recent conflict between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza and said the widespread impression is that India has 'moved away from its traditional policy' in the region.

In a statement, the opposition party said India's foreign policy has historically been bipartisan and added that it supports the government in its articulation and defence of the country's interests abroad.

'It is in this spirit that we reiterate the traditional position in support of the two-State solution, with appropriate recognition of East Jerusalem as the capital of independent Palestine, must not be undermined by omission,' the party said in the statement.

'Both parties should respect the ceasefire and return to peace negotiations, there being no other path to a meaningful, peaceful co-existence of Israel and Palestine. As one of the few countries to have maintained a good relationship with both parties to the conflict, we must not be influenced by expediency to dilute our commitment to Palestine,' it also said.

'The Congress party is deeply concerned about our country's stand on the recent tragic conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. Press reports indicating a perceptible shift in the Indian position between the Indian intervention in the UN Security Council on May 16 and our statement in the UN General Assembly on May 20 have conveyed the widespread impression that India has moved away from its traditional policy in the area,' according to the statement.

The Congress said it was appropriate for India's initial statement to note that the intrusion by Israeli forces into the Holy Al Aqsa mosque during Ramzan prayers ruptured the delicate peace in the region.

'Omitting that in our statement to the General Assembly, where sympathy for the Palestinians is far more extensive than in the Security Council, was incomprehensible. It must not be lost sight of that this unacceptable intrusion into the holy precincts was the immediate flash point,' it noted.

The formulation reiterating 'India's strong support to the just Palestinian cause and its unwavering commitment to the two-State solution,' which was part of the Indian statement in the UN Security Council, was absent from the General Assembly statement, raising questions about the overall direction of our policy in the region, the Congress statement said.

'Our later statement at the UN Human Rights Council has also conveyed the impression that we have departed from our time-tested commitment to Palestine and thrown our support entirely to Israel,' the Congress said.

The Israeli attack on media offices, undermining the first principles of free flow of information, and the death of a large numbers of children in Israeli airstrikes, have gone without appropriate censure from our side, it said. PTI SKC SMN SMN

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