Faulty ware sold to India: Palestinians

Leading Palestinians have called upon India to end its defence ties with Israel. Israel is not only selling India arms being used against Palestinians, but also off-loading big-ticket military hardware which did not work during its aggression on Lebanon, say noted Israeli scholar Ilan Pappe and Jamal Zahalka, an Arab member of the Knesset.

“India should end its defence ties with Israel because it is buying equipment that failed during Israel's aggression on Lebanon. The tanks were vulnerable and the anti-missile system was caught napping when the Hezbollah hit them. The war was actually the failure of Israeli weapons,” said Mr. Zahalka, who was here along with Professor Pappe to attend a conference on Palestine.

They regretted the perception that India's policy on Israel was not in sync with the wishes of people and acknowledged the waning enthusiasm among Arab governments for the Palestinian cause.

Turning point

“The world is not made of governments but societies. All over the world, citizens were appalled by the attack on the Gaza flotilla. In a funny sort of way, this incident caused a change in world opinion. It exposed Israel for who and what they are. I agree, the Arab world is not doing anything. It is also true that there is an unbridgeable gap between civil society depicting Israel as a rogue state and governments the world over like India maintaining good strategic economic relationship with Israel,” pointed out Prof. Pappe.

Asked about the talks now on between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), the two activists drew attention to the absence of Hamas at the negotiating table, which reduced the chances of an acceptable settlement. Mr. Zahalka was critical of the PNA and felt its role had been reduced to a “sub-contractor to Israel.”

Double standards

“Not inviting Hamas smacks of double standards. Israel has massacred people but no one questions its participation in the talks. But Hamas, which is democratically elected and resists the policy of Israel to strangulate the Palestinians, is not called. This will not contribute to the chances of peace. It is up to the Palestinians to decide who will represent them at talks,” said Prof. Pappe. He was of the opinion that there was American pressure to come for the talks because the PNA was totally dependent on international aid, especially from Europe and the United States.

Delaying tactics

Asked if the talks would succeed, the Knesset member said the likelihood was remote because Israel was talking to the Palestinian Authority under the impression that it had been defeated and the terms of surrender were being worked out. “The political school to which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu belongs views this as conflict management. The talks are delaying tactics and are the essence of his political culture. We are very disappointed he finds [U.S. President Barack] Obama a willing partner,” he said.

Keywords: IndiaIsraeldefence ties

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