Palestinians will choose death over becoming refugees once again: Ambassador of Palestine Adnan Abu Al-Haija

Israeli Defence Forces have not achieved any military objective by carrying out bombing raids over the Gaza Strip as no major leader of Hamas has been harmed in these attacks, says the envoy

Updated - October 27, 2023 07:41 am IST

Published - October 26, 2023 10:29 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Al-Haija speaks during an interview with the The Hindu at the Palestine Embassy in New Delhi, on October 26, 2023.

Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Al-Haija speaks during an interview with the The Hindu at the Palestine Embassy in New Delhi, on October 26, 2023. | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Palestinians will choose death over becoming refugees in other countries despite the threat of Israeli bombing, said Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Al Haija here on Thursday. Speaking to The Hinduin an exclusive interview, Mr. Al Haija said the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have not achieved any military objective by carrying out bombing raids over the Gaza Strip as no major leader of Hamas has been harmed in these attacks and urged India to call for an immediate ceasefire as an intense humanitarian crisis has engulfed Gaza after nineteen days of Israeli bombing. 

“Whatever may be the condition, we will not repeat the mistakes of 1967 and 1948 when Palestinians left home under Israeli attack. We will die if they carry out massacres but will not leave home this time. The remarks of the Jordanian king have already made it clear that the solution will not come by the removal of our population from home,” said Ambassador Al Haija.

India has maintained a careful position during the latest round of fighting that erupted on October 7 with the attack on Israeli targets by Hamas. PM Modi reached out to Israel by expressing solidarity with Israel in its fight against terrorism but at the same time, India also reiterated its support for the two-state solution which includes a Palestinian state that is expected to exist side by side with Israel.

India sent 6.5 tonnes of medical aid and 32 tonnes of disaster relief material for the Palestinians on October 22 through the Egyptian airbase of El Arish. The  Ambassador informed that the bombing by Israel is placing a hurdle on the movement of assistance to Gaza, informing that 1.1 million people out of the 2.2 million total population of Gaza has been displaced by the continuous bombardment that Israel has been carrying out.

“We thank India for sending humanitarian assistance. India took the initiative to send us assistance even though we had not asked for it. We are deeply thankful for the gesture. But there are thousands of tonnes of goods waiting in Egypt but till now only one hundred trucks have been able to enter Gaza as there is a shortage of truck fuel since that has to be supplied for the generators of hospitals,” said Mr. Al Haija. The envoy said he has been in contact with the Indian interlocutors and has briefed them about the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Mr. Al Haija painted a dismal portrait of the health condition in the Gaza Strip and informed that the blockade imposed by Israel is denying entry to essential items and said that Gaza’s groundwater is being extracted by Israel to supply its communities in the Negev desert which has turned water into a weapon against Gaza.  “You can imagine 2.2 million people are without food, medicine, water and oxygen for 20 days. Gaza has 35 hospitals in all and they have run out of fuel that is necessary to run the facilities,” said Ambassador Al Haija. He made a stinging criticism of Israel for carrying out what he described as “ethnic cleansing” of the Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.   

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He said the West has been silent despite witnessing the destruction that Gaza has been subjected to over the last 20 days arguing that the West has lost the moral authority to talk about killings, be it in Ukraine or elsewhere.

He further called out Israeli criticism of the UN Secretary-General as uncalled for and argued, “The UN Secretary-General Guterres did not say anything new. He just pointed out what is being seen by everyone in the world.” Ambassador Al Haija said Israel is not ready for an end to the conflict and will continue its bombardment as it is being supported by the U.S. and the U.K. “The only good Palestinian for Prime Minister Netanyahu is a dead Palestinian and left to Israel there will be no end of this conflict. If he has to kill all Palestinians, he will do that as well. This is the Israeli apartheid, criminal mindset.  I call upon India and other countries to call for an immediate ceasefire so that Israel’s actions can be stopped,” said Mr. Al Haija.

Mr. Al Haija who hails from the West Bank said Israel has not achieved any significant military goal by carrying out non-stop bombing of Gaza. He pointed out that the Israeli bombing killed Jamila Al-Shanti, widow of the co-founder of Hamas, Abdul Aziz Al-Rantisi, and said, “No big Hamas leader has been harmed and the only aim of Israel is to kill as many civilians as they can. They are killing Palestinian women and children as they are supported by the criminals of the Western world.” The West, according to Mr. Al Haija has not put any pressure on Israel.

“The Western attitude to Israel reminds me as if the Israeli blood is blue and we Palestinians have dirty water in our veins. But the West should remember that without ensuring rights and peace for the Palestinian people, there will not be any peace in the West Asian region,” said Ambassador Al Haija.

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