Indian opposition voices concern at rising violence in Gaza
Indian National Congress says Palestinians right to pray at Al-Aqsa mosque without restrictions must be respected
A major Indian opposition party expressed concern about escalating violence in East Jerusalem and urged the government on Friday to proactively work as a member of the UN Security Council to restore peace.
Anand Sharma, deputy leader of the Indian National Congress in the Upper House, or Rajya Sabha, and head of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs, said in a statement that spiraling violence in Gaza and Israel, which coincides with the Muslim holy festival of Eid al-Fitr is distressing and a matter of grave concern for the world.
“Palestinian people's right to pray at Al-Aqsa mosque without any restriction must always be respected and not violated,” he said, before adding that Palestinians have the same right as Israelis to live in dignity in a secure environment.
The incidents in Jerusalem are outrageous, said Sharma.
Israel's ongoing heavy bombardment of Gaza has caused extensive damage to residential buildings and according to UN estimates, 10,000 Palestinians have been forced to leave their homes in Gaza "due to the ongoing hostilities" during an Israeli offensive.
At least 126 Palestinians, including 31 children and 20 women have been killed, and more than 900 injured during the offensive.
“The escalation of the conflict, air attacks on Gaza and the rocket attacks by Hamas have resulted in the tragic loss of innocent human lives, especially the children and the elderly and also injuries to many civilians,” said, the party, adding that the substantial destruction of public property and infrastructure has resulted in hardship and disruption.
It also urged an immediate end to hostilities between Israel and Hamas, as well as immediate UN Security Council intervention to restore peace.
Tensions have been running high in the Sheikh Jarrah area in occupied East Jerusalem for the past month as Israeli settlers swarmed in following an Israeli court order for the eviction of Palestinian families.
Palestinians are protesting for the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, who have been targeted and threatened with expulsion by Israeli forces.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980 -- a move that has never been recognized by the international community.
* Writing by Shafiq Ahmad
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