Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon says time has come for India to declare Hamas as a terrorist group

India has described the October 7 attack by Hamas as a ‘terror attack’ while extending support to Israel against terrorism

Updated - October 26, 2023 10:04 am IST

Published - October 26, 2023 01:50 am IST - NEW DELHI

Israel’s ambassador to India Naor Gilon.

Israel’s ambassador to India Naor Gilon. | Photo Credit: PTI

The time has come for India to declare Hamas as a terrorist group, said Israeli envoy Naor Gilon in New Delhi on Wednesday. Speaking at a special briefing with the media, Mr. Gilon said that economic projects like I2U2 and IMEC will remain on track and that Israeli economy will remain unaffected by the ongoing conflict. 

“India is a very close ally and India is a very important moral voice in the world. When it comes to terrorism, India is also coming from the point of view of someone who knows what they are talking about as it has been a victim of terrorism for so many years. The democracies of the world are with us. I think it is time for India to officially designate Hamas as a terror organisation. Many countries – EU, U.S., Canada, Australia – have already done that,” said Mr. Gilon, explaining the international support system. 

India has described the October 7 attack by Hamas as a “terror attack” while extending support to Israel against terrorism. At the same time, India has reiterated its support for the two-state solution and the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Ambassador Gilon said he has spoken to “relevant authorities here” regarding declaring Hamas as a terror group. 

“It is not the first time we spoke about it. We are not putting pressure. We think that is something that is due. We raised it after the attack and we are still in dialogue. It’s a friendly talk. We see eye to eye on counterterrorism and other issues,” said Mr. Gilon. 

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He argued that the conflict will not cast a shadow on Israel’s economic prospects, saying, “Israel has an amazing past and a brighter future. At the end of the day, the trajectory of growth will continue. The first essential thing is to get rid of the threat. Once we get rid of the threat, we can go back to normalcy,” Mr. Gilon said. The war has not put pressure on the Israeli economy where offices are continuing to work despite the call to armed service that the Israeli government has given to men and women. The envoy dealt with a series of questions from the media about the current status of the Israeli operation that was launched after the October 7 attack by Hamas on Israeli targets. 

He highlighted that Israel is emphasising the need to bring back the people who were abducted by Hamas and urged the international community to put pressure on Hamas to release the kidnapped Israelis. 

Mr. Gilon said Israel is capable of fighting a two-front war taking on Hamas in the South and Hezbollah along the Lebanese border, but will not open such a war as Israel is mindful of the regional situation. He also reminded India that it has troops in UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon).

“If we have to open a second front, we know how to deal with these fronts. But we don’t want to create it because we know the price that everyone has to pay, including Lebanon. I think India has a special interest also as Indian soldiers are in UNIFIL. At the end of it, no one will be happy with such a war breaking out,” said Mr. Gilon. 

Mr. Gilon appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support to Israel in the October 7 attack by Hamas and said, “That set a very strong tone of clear condemnation of terrorism.”

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