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Updated: September 17, 2011 23:48 IST

India to back Palestinian bid for U.N. membership

Special Correspondent
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Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai.
The Hindu Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai.

India was among the first countries to recognise Palestine when it was proclaimed in November 1988: Ranjan Mathai

India will support a Palestinian bid for membership of the United Nations at a meeting of the General Assembly scheduled for later this month, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said on Friday.

The announcement came hours after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas went on television to announce that his administration was “going to the United Nations to request our legitimate right, obtaining full membership for Palestine in this organisation.” Future negotiations with Israel, Mr. Abbas said, “no matter how difficult, will be between one state and another.”

Mr. Mathai told journalists that India “will support the resolution on Palestine seeking membership of the United Nations” and that India was among the first countries to accord the state of Palestine diplomatic recognition when it was proclaimed in November 1988.

Frustrated at a two-year deadlock with Israeli negotiators, the Palestinian Authority hopes its application for the U.N. membership would strengthen its demand that Israel cede territories it occupied during the 1967 war. These territories include East Jerusalem, which Israel now claims as part of its capital, and has been a key stumbling block in the negotiations.

The Palestinian application will need the backing of the Security Council and a two-thirds majority in the General Assembly — but is almost certain to be blocked by the U.S.

The U.S. Senate, in a resolution passed in June, has called on President Barack Obama to veto the Palestinian bid. Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said this summer that the U.S. could also withdraw funding for the international body — estimated at $500 million a year — if the vote went through. “I cannot frankly think of a greater threat to our ability to maintain financial and political support for the United Nations in Congress than such an outcome.”

European Union diplomats had been seeking to avert a potential showdown at the U.N., attempting to mediate a deal that would have kick-started Israeli-Palestinian talks. The EU had also suggested that the Palestinians seek to be recognised as an “entity” rather than a full-blown state.

Though the Palestinian issue is likely to be at the centre of diplomatic attention at the U.N., India will also seek to underline its concerns on a welter of other issues.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who will travel to New York later this month, is scheduled to address the General Assembly on September 24. He will also meet several world leaders — though at least one of those he might have spoken to, Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, has cancelled his planned visit because of the severe floods in his country.

Mr. Mathai said the Prime Minister's address would focus on the challenge of the rising food and fuel prices, global counter-terrorism cooperation, reforms to the U.N. Security Council, and the need to resolve the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East “through negotiation and diplomacy rather than the use of force.”

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MEA must understand the issue before digging India's grave into the hands of radicalism which is going to be the most potent force in the future. India must get the facts clear before jumping into committing such a big diplomatic blunder. Palestine was offered statehood in 1937, 1967 and 2000 under the quartet. Palestine's continuous refusal shows that Palestine never wanted a two state; Palestine's objective is to achieve a single state for Palestine through elimination of Jewish state through UN platform.

from:  Margaret Gangte
Posted on: Oct 10, 2011 at 18:47 IST

In some of the above comments we have seen both for and against on the topic, but some comments were against it on the ground that Palestine has nothing to offer us and how the Israelis have been exploiting and massacring the Palestinians in their own land..they have been reduced to a minority in their homeland.I wonder now why same principal can't be applied on Tibet issue and placed on the table of UN. Is it the reason that Tibetan are peace loving people and firm believers of non-violence ? or encouraging them to take up arms ? in order to get their demands placed in UN agenda......

from:  Tashi
Posted on: Sep 25, 2011 at 08:42 IST

@ Evan: Duh!! Every country cares about its interests for its people! As many humanitarian goals you might say your nation espouses, eventually, its the nation's self interests which become reasons for its interventions. Where on earth are you from!?

from:  Human
Posted on: Sep 24, 2011 at 20:17 IST

After reading reading some of the comments in here, I have to say I am absolutely disgraced to see there are so many Indians with Nazist and Fasicist beliefs and ideas. Very shocking. Do you honestly believe you shouldn't vote for a Palestine state as they could not give you anything in return for your vote? Thats disgusting. Aren't they all humans like you? If you go through even one day what the Palestinians go through, you would die out of misery. The Britain never imposed on you guys the kind of horrible occupation which Israelis have enforced on the poor hopeless Palestinians. They are locked up in enclaves, with no freedom of movement, no basic necesseties of life, their men and women in israeli jails for no reason, their children stoned by Israeli settlers when they are out playing on the streets just like any other child of yours. And all you Indians care about are your bid to UN security council seat, relation with US and ballistic misile from Israel.

from:  Evan Smith
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 23:11 IST

Moral pronouncements on the Israeli Palestinian conflict is a task in futility and is utterly unwise move by India considering its long term ramifications for India's stand on Kashmir. The bottom line in international affairs is contingent on the net advantage any course of action will award India. In this respect, the Palestinian cause besides being "popular" awards no specific and tangible rewards. While on the other hand abstaining or voting in favor of Israel and America offers significant economic, diplomatic and military benefits that will otherwise be jeopardized merely to appease popular sentiment. Even if Palestine were to gain a UN membership, nothing concrete will change on the ground while there will be a tangible loss to India's relations with Israel and consequently America which will be economically unwise given India's ambitions of Security Council membership and greater defense co-operation with Israel.

from:  Ravi
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 17:49 IST

@Anudeep: In the Bagavad Gita Krishna preached that one should follow their Dharma irrespective of the consequences - its not about killing at all, it applies universally to sweeper and king.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Sep 22, 2011 at 17:25 IST

@ Mr.yuthistiran: are the muslims in india not living under the domain of a majority "Hinduism"...dont ever never blame a religion because no religion preaches to kill innocent people...even Krishna in Gita advocated violence during the time of Kurukshetra. Does that mean hinduism is a religion preaching only violence and blood-spilling..Please dont blame any religions because all religions encourage universal brotherhood...people contorting the writings in holy scriptures are bad not the religion.

from:  Anudeep
Posted on: Sep 21, 2011 at 12:00 IST

I strongly object to some of the above comments here,of course Palestine has nothing to offer us but don't we know how the Israelis have been exploiting and massacring the native Palestinians in their own land..they have been reduced to a minority in their homeland...Despite the Arab population being more than the Jewish population there, the Israelis have a lion share of the land(63%) but the native majority Arabs of Palestine have only 38% of land and that is also slowly being nibbled away by Israel...i do agree that jihadist groups across the world r using this palestine issue to recruit cadre and foster violence against other religions adn countries but as responsible nation what are US,UK and israel doing??? the world and the so called gaurdian of world peace the "U.N.O" was a mute spectator when Israel reduced Gaza to a rubble in 2008 killing hundreds..India should vote for Palestine not the blood-thirsty israel which is hell bent on occupying and destroying Palestine.

from:  Anudeep
Posted on: Sep 21, 2011 at 11:53 IST

All the member nations must vote unanimously to declare the Palestine as independent state. Otherwise the dream of Palestine will end like the dream of Tamil Elam. Both Tamil Elam peoples and the peoples of Palestine suffered a lot and they were cursed and erased by the Israelis and Sinhalese. We pray with Almighty for the all living mankind to live in this earth by peace and prosperity.

from:  Sadakka
Posted on: Sep 20, 2011 at 13:27 IST

Its eye-opening to read comments by some readers. Purely materialist. What can Palestine give us. So better to lick the sole of US. Forget about right or wrong.Forget about oppressor or oppressed.The reasons given are amazing!

from:  G.R.Siddiqui
Posted on: Sep 19, 2011 at 23:11 IST

I am so disappointed reading this article !!! Do India have a sound Foreign Policy ??? These Politicians are ruining our future by making >choices on vote bank politics !!!! Palestine is worthless for India and may be one day Palestine would support Pakistan on Kashmir issue !!!

from:  chetan
Posted on: Sep 19, 2011 at 17:26 IST

How many jewish or hindu countries are there in this world? And how many muslim or christian nations are there? I think everybody can answer the first question instantaneously, and for the second question even i cannot figure.........countless! I still dont understand why indians are still so naive, by voting against Israel is like bowing to the superiority of islamism and thus the total islamification of the world.
In reality india is typically shares the same situation for the survival of jewish/hindu culture. By creating palestine is like creating another pakistan! And then more wars, history had shown us repeatedly that muslims cannot live under other the domain of other religion but if they were to be majority, no other infidel religion should coexist.

from:  yuthistiran
Posted on: Sep 19, 2011 at 17:12 IST

India shouldn't support Palestine as we are in negotiation to purchase anti ballistic missile from Israel which is very essential to us. Even we need support of US to counter China. We should go for more deeper relationship with Israel to help to counter Pakistan and have more defence related technology in our kitty. Palestine cannot give us any thing it has neither market nor any good techology. A country with no natural resource, worthless for India. India should think by brain not by heart

from:  raaghav
Posted on: Sep 18, 2011 at 22:30 IST

The Israeli-Palestine issue is no doubt a double edged sword. While on the one hand by supporting it we invoke the wrath of the US and ruin our aspirations for a UN Security Council (permanent) berth, by not supporting it, we invoke the wrath of the Muslim world, and of course India's own Muslim minority, endangering our economic relations & ex-pats in the ME.

from:  Amit
Posted on: Sep 18, 2011 at 21:30 IST

Typical! Indian govt. does this best - shoot itself in the foot. This attitude of fake piety holier than thou attitude has afflicted Indian foreign policy since the 60's. As long as India hangs on to dinosaurs as its politicians and senior bureaucrats no change can be expected. Chumps don't understand which side their bread is buttered - knee jerk anti west while forgetting that secular India is stuck with Kashmir - a legally ccceeded princely state to India - where Islamists have been busily remaking the demographics by kicking out resident non Muslims by terrorizing them with Pakistani support and then trying to internationalize their crazy demands - that India should take into account its Musim majority as a basis for its right to secession!

from:  tushar
Posted on: Sep 18, 2011 at 21:09 IST

I am proud to be an Indian in this case. Palestine should be seperate state. God Bless Palestine.

from:  John
Posted on: Sep 18, 2011 at 19:48 IST

India, Pakistan & China are recognised States with mostly adequately defined frontier. Palestine,complete,was partitioned by the UN, with now non-defined frontiers. So Israel & renaiscent Palestine are two peas in a pod. Let them talk within the UN, unfettered by the Yanks internal politics which can always change.

from:  Sajid Ali Khan
Posted on: Sep 18, 2011 at 13:33 IST

Mr. Davis :The condition in Palestine is totally different from Sudan., India ., Pakistan and China..There is no occupation in above countries., and Israel is occupying inch by inch to the Palestinian territory. hope u went thru that, the Israeli forces has evacuated the Arab localities for the houses of Israelis.. then how the state and sovereignty will be. In Sudan case., the citizen's of Sudan divided among them., no occupation.. By the way., Palestine has its own government and legislators., but it has not been approved by other countries those who are loyal to Israel.

from:  sayeed
Posted on: Sep 18, 2011 at 13:26 IST

While India insists that India-Pakistan and India-China border problems should be resolved by mutual agreement and no mutual agremment has happened in more than 6 decades, why the policy of India in relation to Palestinians and Israel is different by refering the Palestinian problem to the UN, instead of bilateral agreement between Palestine and Israel? Look at Sudan and Southern Sudan. After decades of violence and more than two million people killed in conflict, both parties mutually agreed to split after a referendum and election. Once Southern Sudan is formed, Southern Sudan was admitted in the UN within days, because they got independence, defined borders, functional government and a capital. Palestine did not have any of the above criteria for UN membership. Once the Palestine meets these basic criteria for UN membership, UN membership is readily available. Palestine is putting the bullock behind the cart by applying for UN membership without sovereignty.

from:  Davis K. Thanjan
Posted on: Sep 18, 2011 at 04:56 IST

By voting in favour of the Palestine State becoming a member of the United Nations, India will ruin its chances further of ever becoming a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.

from:  Navi Reyd
Posted on: Sep 18, 2011 at 00:42 IST
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