‘Heartbreaking loss of civilian lives’: India on Israeli airstrike on Rafah camp | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Heartbreaking loss of civilian lives’: India on Israeli airstrike on Rafah camp

ByRezaul H Lashkar
May 30, 2024 09:53 PM IST

jaiswal said the Indian side has noted that Israel has “already accepted responsibility for it as a tragic accident” and announced a probe

NEW DELHI: India on Thursday expressed deep concern at the “heartbreaking loss” of lives in an Israeli airstrike in Rafah earlier this week and reiterated its call for the protection of the civilian population and resumption of efforts aimed at a two-state solution.

Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 30, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana) (AP)
Smoke rises following an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, May 30, 2024. (AP Photo/Abdel Kareem Hana) (AP)

The world community, which has been concerned by Israel’s threats to launch a full-scale land invasion of Rafah, has warned that such an attack would amount to crossing a “red line”. Earlier this month, Israel intensified air strikes on Rafah and 45 people, most of them women, children and the elderly, were killed when an attack on May 26 hit a camp for the displaced.

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External affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told a regular media briefing that India has always called for respect for international law in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

“The heartbreaking loss of civilian lives in the displacement camp in Rafah is a matter of deep concern. We have consistently called for protection of civilian population and respect for international humanitarian law in the ongoing conflict,” he said in response to a question.

The Indian side has noted that Israel has “already accepted responsibility for it as a tragic accident” and announced an investigation into the incident, Jaiswal said.

Responding to another question on New Delhi’s position regarding the recent recognition of the Palestinian state by Ireland, Norway and Spain, Jaiswal said that India was one of the first countries to recognise the state of Palestine in the late 1980s.

India has also long supported a two-state solution which “entails the establishment of a sovereign, viable and independent state of Palestine within recognised and mutually agreed borders, living side by side with Israel in peace”, he said.

On Thursday, Israeli tanks entered the city centre of Rafah and the army announced that it was in control of the Philadelphi Corridor, a strip of land running along Egypt’s border with the Rafah governorate in the Gaza Strip. The move by Israel amounts to a violation of a treaty with Egypt which states that the Philadelphi Corridor or the Salah al-Din Axis, is a buffer zone that is overseen by Cairo.

Concerns have grown over Israel’s recent actions in Rafah as they have crossed “red lines” set by Western powers. In February, all members of the European Union (EU), barring Hungary, warned Israel against a full-scale operation in Rafah. The following month, US President Joe Biden said a major invasion of Rafah would violate his “red line”.

However, the White House has said the US doesn’t believe Israel’s current actions in Rafah amount to a “major ground operation” that would cross Biden’s red line and trigger a change in American policy.

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