File image: PM Narendra Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed hope for an early resumption of dialogue between Palestine and Israel to move towards a comprehensive and negotiated resolution, as he reiterated India's "strong support" for the Palestinian cause on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people.
"On the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, I reiterate India's strong support for the Palestinian cause. I also express our solidarity with the Palestinian people in their efforts to establish a sovereign, independent, viable and United State of Palestine co-existing peacefully with Israel," Modi said in his message.
He said as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people is commemorated, "we hope for an early resumption of the dialogue between Palestine and Israel for moving towards a comprehensive and negotiated resolution."
Recalling his visit to Palestine last year, Modi said the trip contributed "substantially" to further strengthening the historic ties between India and Palestine. "Our enhanced project assistance and capacity building initiatives will continue to contribute to Palestinian nation building."
During Modi's historic visit to Palestine, the two sides had signed agreements worth around USD 50 million that included setting up of a USD 30 million super speciality hospital. Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to make an official visit to Palestine.
Modi extended his best wishes to the Palestinian people "in their pursuit of statehood, peace and prosperity."
Earlier this month, India announced its pledge to contribute USD 5 million in 2020 to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).
In 1977, the UN General Assembly had called for the annual observance of November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People will hold a special meeting on Wednesday in the UN Headquarters in observance of the International Day.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, in his message for the Day, said that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains one of the most intractable challenges facing the international community. He voiced regret that over the past year, there have been no positive developments, and the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate.
He said that the intensification of illegal settlements, demolitions of Palestinian homes and the "pervasive suffering in Gaza must stop".
The establishment of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation of international law, as stated in relevant Security Council resolutions, he said.
"These actions threaten to undermine the viability of establishing a Palestinian State based on relevant United Nations resolutions. At the same time, the indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli civilian populations must cease," he said.
Israel has built about 140 settlements since its occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967. The settlements are widely considered illegal under international law. The US recently said that it no longer believes the Israeli settlements are illegal.
Underscoring that there is no viable alternative, Guterres called on Israelis and Palestinians to take steps that will restore faith in the two-State solution.
He voiced the commitment of the United Nations to the Palestinian people in striving to achieve their inalienable rights and build a future of peace, justice, security and dignity for Palestinians and Israelis alike.