India calls killings in Rafah ‘heartbreaking’, reaffirms Palestinian statehood amid European moves – Hindustan Times

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India reiterated its long-standing support for Palestinian statehood following the recent recognition of Palestine by Ireland, Norway, and Spain.

India on Thursday reaffirmed its long-standing position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict following the recent recognition of Palestine by Ireland, Norway, and Spain. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal highlighted India’s historical support for Palestinian statehood and a two-state solution.

MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal (File Photo)

When asked about the coordinated decision by Spain, Ireland, and Norway to formally recognise Palestine, Jaiswal, at a weekly press briefing, said, “As you are aware, India was one of the first countries to recognise the state of Palestine in the late 1980s, and we have long supported a two-state solution which entails the establishment of a sovereign, viable, and independent state of Palestine within recognised and mutually agreed borders, living side by side with Israel in peace.”

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Read: Gaza war may last till end of 2024, warns Israel amid Rafah offensive

The European nations hope their recognition of Palestine will galvanise international efforts towards peace.

“We had wanted to recognise Palestine at the end of a peace process. However, we have made this move alongside Spain and Norway to keep the miracle of peace alive,” Ireland’s Prime Minister Simon Harris said in a statement, urging Israel to “stop the humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.

Norway’s foreign minister Espen Barth Eide hailed the move as “a special day for Norway-Palestine relations” while Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said recognition was “essential” for peace.

Sanchez insisted the move was “not against anyone, least of all Israel” and the only way to secure a future of two states living side-by-side “in peace and security”.

Israel has repeatedly condemned the decision, saying it bolsters Hamas, the militant Islamist group that led the deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel that triggered the war in the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip.

“Sanchez, when you… recognize a Palestinian state, you are complicit in incitement to genocide against the Jewish people and in war crimes,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote on X on Tuesday.

India also expressed deep concern over the recent loss of civilian lives in the displacement camp in Rafah.

“The heartbreaking loss of civilian lives in the displacement camp in Rafah is a matter of deep concern. We have consistently called for the protection of the civilian population and respect for international humanitarian law in the ongoing conflict,” Jaiswal said, noting that the Israeli side has already accepted responsibility and announced an investigation into the incident.

The Israeli strikes on Rafah, a city in southern Gaza, have sparked widespread condemnation. Local health officials reported that the strikes killed at least 45 Palestinians, including many displaced individuals living in tents that were set ablaze on Sunday.

The incident has led to a surge of outrage and solidarity on social media, with the hashtag “All eyes on Rafah” gaining traction and being shared by tens of millions worldwide.

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