India’s former National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon has said that current crises in the Middle East are a grim reminder that the issue of Palestine cannot be swept under the carpet.
As Israeli fighter jets continued to pound the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding civilians with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defying calls for de-escalation, Menon said due to domestic political compulsions, Israeli politicians were playing to the gallery and their political ambitions were worsening the situation on the ground.
“Actual situation of ground is worsening because of the current state of Israeli politics and the individual political urge to look more heroic and nationalist,” he said.
He further said that the Palestine issue is not over and needs a settlement.
“Palestine question is not over and it is not settled and I think this is a reminder to everyone that this is not an issue that can just be swept under the carpet and one-state solution that Netanyahu is talking about is not inevitable, even though Trump may have supported it,” he said during an interaction with New Delhi-based Indian Women Press Corps (IWPC), through a video link on eve of the release of his latest book – titled India and Asian Geopolitics: The Past, Present.
Menon – a retired career diplomat who has previously served as foreign secretary, India’s envoy to Israel, Sri Lanka, China, and Pakistan – said despite all the force and attempts by various countries, including Arab monarchies to put the issue of Palestine on the backburner, the current crises have shown that it is not going that way.
He said the US is also having second thoughts on former President Donald Trump’s approach and they are discussing within themselves where to go.
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Menon, who served as national security advisor from 2010-2014, said Palestine was a real issue and advised the Indian government not to change its traditional stance.
“We have fairly consistently supported the two-state solution, supporting dialogue between Israel and Palestine,” he said, adding that India should use its leverage and friendly ties with both the parties to calm the situation.
“When we recognized Israel and decided to open embassy in Tel Aviv, it was Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, who in January 1992, stood up in Delhi and said ‘I encourage you to do so,’ because he needed people to give Israel sensible advice,” Menon recalled.
He said Arafat wanted someone to give sane advice to Israelis and did not want them to be in their echo chamber listing only to those who encouraged them to go on occupying Palestinian lands and aim for a one-state solution.
“And I don’t think, why should we change that relationship. We have a good relationship with Israel and we have an excellent understanding of a host of security issues and that has continued some time, “he added.
At least 230 Palestinians have been killed, including 65 children, 39 women and 17 elderly, in Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since May 10, the Gaza-based Health Ministry said on Thursday.
A ministry statement said 1,710 people have also been injured in the Israeli attacks.
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk