‘India welcomes the recent reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas on the West Bank and Gaza'

India has affirmed a “continuing commitment to Palestine” and voiced support for “the Palestinian people's struggle for a sovereign, independent, viable, and united State of Palestine.”

Addressing the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) Committee on Palestine in Bali, Minister of State for External Affairs, E. Ahamed, said: “India welcomes the recent reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas on the West Bank and Gaza.”

The NAM panel on Palestine was convened on the occasion of the movement's 50th anniversary meeting in the Indonesian island-resort. A parallel three-day NAM ministerial meeting and the commemorative event were declared open by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

At the panel session, Mr. Ahamed spelt out India's emphatic endorsement of the Palestinian struggle for a “united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognised borders – side by side and at peace with Israel.”

He recounted that India's stand was in sync with the Arab Peace Initiative on this issue, the Quartet Roadmap, and the relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions.

Expressing the “hope” that the recent Fatah-Hamas reconciliation accord “would lead to peace and stability in the region,” he said India wanted an “end to the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.” Reaffirming India's call for “an early and significant easing of restrictions on the free movement of persons and goods in Palestine,” he noted that the blockade on Gaza was adversely affecting the population there.

Tracing New Delhi's “deep association” with the Palestinian cause, dating back to a timeline before India gained Independence, Mr. Ahamed described the commitment to Palestine as “a central feature of India's foreign policy.” Down the memory avenue, one could not miss India's recognition of the State of Palestine in 1988, acknowledgment of Palestine Liberation Organisation as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and New Delhi's initial vote against the partition of Palestine, he pointed out.

In a detailed intervention, Mr. Ahamed outlined India's more recent material assistance to the Palestine National Authority since 1996.

Earlier this year, New Delhi allocated $10 million for this purpose, signifying the same level of contribution as in the previous year. India's annual contribution towards the U.N. programmes for Palestinian refugees was recently raised to $1 million.

At the plenary session of the commemorative conference, Mr. Ahamed suggested that NAM play a role in shaping a multi-polar global order in which the developing countries would have a qualitatively significant voice.