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Israel regrets naming India to explain killings off Gaza

Israel on Wednesday expressed regret for having bracketed India with other violence-hit countries while explaining its position on the firing on peace activists in the sea off Gaza.

Israeli Ambassador Mark Sofer told journalists that the reference to India in a statement by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was deleted. He would also explain his country's position to the Ministry of External Affairs here.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry statement said Mr. Lieberman had reminded U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that in the past month, 500 people had been killed in violent incidents in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, India and Thailand.

“While the international community remained silent and passive, and generally ignored the occurrences, Israel is being condemned for unmistakably defensive actions,” he had said.

Israel, which has a lucrative defence trade with New Delhi that has crossed the $8-billion mark, said it greatly trusted India and had a great respect for it. “We listen to all it says on the Middle-East. We are removing the reference from the Internet site and are taking it up so that the misunderstanding due to the error will not be there,” Mr. Sofer said.

Mr. Sofer began his interaction by regretting the firing and repeated the Israeli position that its armed forces were forced to open fire because the activists on the ship reacted brutally to an attempt by commandos to board it in the international waters. “Each of the killed is a tragedy. But tens of people are killed around the world every minute, and there is no massive outcry [as in this case]. Had we wished there would have been many more [killed].”

Pointing to the “wider picture,” he suggested that the “provocation” by the peace activists could have been an attempt by the extremists to stop proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians. “We see that in almost any conflict in the world. When a soldier is smashed on the head, what would he do? If we had wanted to open fire, we could have done that from above.” Mr. Sofer indicated that Israel would not ask the U.N. to probe the incident.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 3:28:30 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Israel-regrets-naming-India-to-explain-killings-off-Gaza/article16240470.ece

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