New Delhi, Oct 19: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday spoke to Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict and conveyed condolences at the loss of civilian lives at the al-Ahli hospital in Gaza. Assuring that India will send humanitarian assistance to the people of Palestine, PM Modi said he reiterated India’s long-standing principles position on the Israel-Palestine issue. “Spoke to the President of the Palestinian Authority H.E. Mahmoud Abbas. Conveyed my condolences at the loss of civilian lives at the Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza. We will continue to send humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people. Shared our deep concern at the terrorism, violence and deteriorating security situation in the region. Reiterated India’s long-standing principled position on the Israel-Palestine issue,” PM Modi tweeted.
This is the first time PM Modi spoke to the Palestine authorities after the Israel-Hamas war broke out following Hamas’s unexpected offensive into Israel on October 7.
PM Modi expressed solidarity with Israel and spoke to Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu earlier. On Wednesday, PM Modi expressed shock and concern over the civilian casualties of the ongoing conflict after thousands were reportedly killed in an attack on a hospital in Gaza. No one took responsibility of the attack though the Israeli Defense Forces cited an analysis report to prove that the attack was a result of a misfired rocket of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, a group branded as terrorist by Israel and the US.
After PM Modi posted a message that India stands with Israel, a debate started over India’s official position on the Israel-Palestine issue. India has strategic diplomatic ties with Israel. PM Modi is the first Indian Prime minister to visit Israel and Palestine. In 2017, India voted against the US and Israel for declaring all of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
The ministry of external affairs earlier said India believes in long-standing support for the establishment of a sovereign, independent and viable state of Palestine. “India always advocated the resumption of direct negotiations towards establishing a sovereign, independent, and viable state of Palestine, living within secure and recognised borders, side by side at peace with Israel. I think that position remains the same,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
India, however, stands firmly against terrorism and condemned the Hamas attack on Israel.