Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s three day visit to Israel in July 2017 marks the strengthening of a dangerous anti-people alliance between India and Israel.
This was the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Israel since India and Israel established diplomatic relations with each other twenty five years ago. The government of Israel left no stone unturned to emphasize the importance it attached to the Indian Prime Minister’s visit. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was at Modi’s side from the time he landed in Tel Aviv airport to the time he left Israel. Significantly, the Indian Prime Minister never uttered a single word during his entire visit about the Palestinian people or their long-standing struggle.
The historical injustice to the Palestinian people
People of the Jewish faith have been living in many countries of the world for centuries, including in India. In many countries of Europe, they faced persecution and discrimination at the hands of the ruling class on the basis of their religion. Towards the end of the 19th century, a movement to establish a separate homeland for all people of the Jewish faith emerged in Europe. This was called the Zionist movement.
Towards the end of the First World War, as the Turkish Empire collapsed, Britain and France struck a secret agreement called the Sykes – Picot agreement to partition the territories of the former Turkish Empire amongst themselves. The region of Palestine came under control of the British.
The British imperialists encouraged the Zionist movement. Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary wrote in a letter dated November 2, 1917 to Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish Community: “His Majesty's Government views with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…”
Between the First and Second World Wars, as the persecution of Jews in Europe intensified, the Jewish people migrated in large numbers to British administered Palestine, at a time when many other countries including USA were closing their doors to them. Wealthy Jews controlling the Zionist movement financed this migration. The settlers began to take over the lands of the Palestinians by force. The British colonialists watched with glee as the Jewish settlers and the Palestinian people fought with each other.
During the Second World War, the Nazis carried out an unprecedented genocide of the people of the Jewish faith in the countries of Europe they occupied. The Nazis called it the “final solution”. At least 6 million Jews were murdered in the concentration camps and gas chambers such as Auschwitz, Birkenau and Treblinka. Following the end of the Second World War, many of the Jews who had survived the death camps in Europe migrated to Palestine.
In 1947 the United Nations proposed a partition plan for Palestine that recommended the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states.
According to this plan, the State of Israel came into being on May 14, 1948, in the land that was known as Palestine. Immediately following its creation, Israel went to war to take over more territories. Lakhs of Palestinians were expelled from their homeland and turned into refugees in neighboring countries. The Palestinian people observe May 15 every year as “Nakba” — “the day of the catastrophe”. Since then, the Palestinian people have never given up their struggle for their lost homeland.
Israel, ever since its creation, has been a Jewish State and is meant to be a homeland for Jews irrespective of the country of their origin, according to its own Law of Return.
While instituting the Law of Return to all Jewish people, Israel repudiated the Law of Return to the Palestinian people who were expelled in 1948.
Israel has deliberately encouraged people of Jewish faith from all countries to settle in Israel, displacing the original Palestinian inhabitants and taking over their lands. It further expanded its territories during the 1967 war. It treats the Palestinian people as enemies.
The people of Israel are forced to live in a country that is highly militarized, with compulsory conscription and with fear of attacks and reprisals. For the Palestinian people, both those in Israel and in the occupied territories, life is a living hell as they are denied all rights.
The State of Israel has refused to implement any of the resolutions of the United Nations regarding the rights of the Palestinian people. In 1975, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a Resolution 3379 declaring Zionism to be a form of racism. This came at a time when the Palestinian struggle had reached a crescendo and the international community was forced to acknowledge it. However, after the end of the Cold War, on December 16, 1991 the UN revoked this resolution.
The significance of the visit is that the Indian state has decided to remove the cloak that has hitherto covered its growing relationship with Israel. Throwing all caution to the winds, it has decided to publicly embrace Israel in a strategic relationship.
India is embracing a country which is referred to as a “stationary aircraft carrier of the USA” in the heart of the Arab world. Israel is the most trusted ally of US imperialism in West Asia. It is one of the most militarized countries in the world. The Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has established intelligence networks worldwide and routinely carries out terrorist acts in many countries. Among others, Mossad organized the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists to sabotage the Iranian nuclear program.
Israel is working closely with the US to redraw the map of West Asia, destroying existing states by unleashing sectarian conflicts and civil wars. Israeli intelligence agencies are closely connected with the ISIS and other terrorist groups operating in Syria and other countries of West Asia.
The open embrace of Israel by the Indian state is thus a cause of deep concern for all the countries and peoples of West Asia who are fighting in defence of their freedom and sovereignty.
In particular, it is a dagger in the heart of the heroic Palestinian people who have been waging a long struggle for their national rights.
Israel is a country that has defied international opinion and continues to occupy territories seized during the 1967 war, from Egypt, Jordan and Syria, namely the Gaza strip, the West Bank and the Golan Heights. Israel continues to build settlements in the occupied territories. Every single sanction against Israel in the UN Security Council has been met with a veto from the USA.
In the occupied territories, there is virtual martial law, with arbitrary arrests and detention. Collective punishment, barred under international law, is a common practice in Israel. Families are separated, the land partitioned, homes bulldozed and people thrown out as collective punishment, walls built through occupied territories in the name of preventing suicide attacks – these are just a few examples.
Thousands of Palestinian prisoners are rotting in Israeli jails. Time and again, including just two months back, the Palestinian prisoners have gone on hunger strike to protest against the inhuman tortures inflicted upon them by the Israeli State and to demand their rights as political prisoners.
A woman in anguish after Israeli bombing of Gaza in 2014 (above) and
The Israeli State frequently imposes economic blockade on the occupied territories. It has also repeatedly carried out savage land and air attacks against the civilian population in the Gaza strip, causing widespread destruction and mass killings.
The Israeli state portrays itself as a “victim of terrorism”. The reality is that Israel was founded through terrorist attacks on the original Palestinian inhabitants. It continues to unleash savage state terrorism against the Palestinian people fighting for their rights. What Israel calls “terrorist” is in reality the entirely just liberation struggle of the Palestinian people for their national rights.
The Indian State has, for the past two decades, been taking assistance from Israel in what it calls “counter-insurgency”. It has established close intelligence collaboration with Israel. Israeli armed forces are secretly engaged in training Indian armed forces in “counter-guerrilla warfare” and urban warfare. Israel has become one the biggest suppliers of sophisticated military hardware to Indian armed forces. In other words, the Indian State seeks to learn from the experience of the Israeli State in suppressing the Palestinian people’s just struggle, to crush the struggle of the people fighting for their rights in India.
The strengthening of relations with the Israeli State is not in the interest of the people of our country or for peace in West Asia. It must be resolutely opposed.