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UN seeks India’s assistance on Palestine-Israel conflict

March 3, 2020 at 2:09 pm

An election billboard by Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, showing Netanyahu with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Tel Aviv on 28 July 2019 [Amichai Stein/Twitter]

The United Nations is seeking to inject some new blood into the peace process between Israel and Palestine, which many say has been dealt a fatal blow by US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century.”

Details of the controversial “peace plan” unveiled in January granted Israel nearly every one of its wishes while denying Palestinians their legally enshrined and internationally recognised rights.

To revive the peace process the UN has sent a delegation to India in an effort to get New Delhi to play a greater role in mediating between the warring parties. A delegation of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People (CEIRPP) began a two-day visit to the capital yesterday.

The delegation “intends to engage India, a country with good relations to both the State of Palestine and Israel, in looking for ways how it could play a more proactive role in the settling of the question of Palestine,” an official statement said.

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During the the two-day visit the delegation is expected to focus on enhancing the political and diplomatic support of India to finding a peaceful solution of the question of Palestine. It intends to engage the Narendra Modi government to “enhance the coordination of the Committee Bureau and India on capacity building projects for Palestine, including within the context of South-South and Triangular Cooperation”, the official statement added.

The delegation of CEIRPP-which was founded in 1975 by the United Nations General Assembly in order to formulate a programme to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination, to national independence and sovereignty, and the right of Palestine refugees to return- includes UN Ambassadors and Representatives of Senegal, Indonesia, Malaysia; and the State of Palestine.

The UN initiative to revive the peace process with the support of India is likely to be met with surprise, even though calls for a more impartial mediator has grown especially now that any impression of the US being able to play the role of a neutral broker in the conflict has vanished completely.

Under the right-wing Modi government, India has struck a special bond with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The past few years has seen the two countries move further to the right and taking position on domestic and international issues that are at odds with international law.

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India’s drift towards ethno-nationalism under Modi, who hails from a controversial paramilitary Hindu nationalist group known as RSS, has been one of the biggest developments of the century. This shift has seen a marked change in the country which has ditched features of liberal democracy and embraced a political ideology that accommodates exclusivism and racism.

This transformation is not only evident with the rise in communal violence against Muslims in India, it can also be found in New Delhi’s stance towards Israel and Palestine. After decades of standing behind the Palestinian people, India under Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tilted in Israel’s favour.

In June, New Delhi’s representative at the UN voted in favour of Israel over a decision to grant consultative status to Shahed. The Palestinian human rights NGO lost its bid to join the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).