An Israeli artillery unit fires toward targets in the Gaza Strip, at the Israeli-Gaza border on May 16, 2021 (Image: AP Photo/Heidi Levine)
India, on May 16, reiterated support for 'just Palestinian cause' and the ‘two-state solution’ as the conflict between Israel and Palestine continued to escalate.
Speaking at the United Nations Security Council’s open meeting on the ongoing conflict in West Asia, India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador TS Tirumurti said India condemns all violence and destruction, and called for immediate de-escalation.
On behalf of India, Tirumurti expressed deep concern over the recent violence in Jerusalem, Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount and the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
India urged both sides to refrain from unilaterally changing the status-quo, including in East Jerusalem and neighbouring areas. "Historic status-quo of holy places in Jerusalem must be respected," Tirumurti said, while calling for resumption of a direct dialogue.
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‘India also lost one of her nationals’
Tirumurti also said that India condemns the indiscriminate rocket firings by Hamas targeting civilian population in Israel.
"India has also lost one of her nationals living in Israel in this rocket fire a caregiver in Ashkelon. We deeply mourn her demise along with all other civilians who have lost their lives in the current cycle of violence,” he added.
Soumya Santosh, a 30-year-old Indian, was killed in a rocket attack by Palestinian militants from Gaza last week. Santosh, who hailed from Kerala’s Idukki district, worked as a caregiver attending to an old woman at a house in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon.
At least 188 Palestinians have been killed in hundreds of Israeli airstrikes in Gaza Strip, including 55 children and 33 women, with 1,230 people wounded.
Eight people in Israel have been killed in rocket attacks launched from Gaza, including a five-year-old boy and a soldier.
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Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, launched the rocket attacks last week, in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site, in East Jerusalem.
According to Israel’s defence forces, more than 2,000 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel since the start of the conflict, around half of them intercepted by the ‘Iron Dome’ air defence systems.
Civil unrest between Jews and Arabs in Israel itself dealt a strong blow to efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opponents to unseat the Israeli leader after a series of inconclusive elections, giving rise to expectations that Israelis will go to the polls for an unprecedented fifth time in just over two years.