In a significant session at the United Nations General Assembly, India made its position clear on the situation in the Middle East by voting in favor of five resolutions and abstaining on one. These voting include one that condemned Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
The Fourth Committee (Special Political and Decolonization) of the UN General Assembly passed six draft resolutions on November 9, 2023. All were approved by recorded votes, addressing complex issues in the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Palestinian question.
India aligns with 145 nations, including Bangladesh
India joined forces with 145 nations, casting its vote in support of a resolution titled ‘Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the Occupied Syrian Golan.’ The resolution, which condemned settlement activities, received approval with 145 votes in favor, 7 against, and 18 abstentions. Notable nations voting against the resolution included Canada, Hungary, Israel, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the United States.
India’s decision to support the resolution aligned it with nations such as Bangladesh, China, Russia, Malaysia, France, Japan, Maldives, Bhutan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and the UK. The resolution explicitly condemned actions that included the confiscation of land, disruption of livelihoods, forced transfer of civilians, and the annexation of land within the specified territories.
However, India opted for abstention on another crucial draft resolution titled ‘Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories.’ Approved by a recorded vote of 85 in favor, 13 against, with 72 abstentions, the resolution expresses strong condemnation for Israeli policies and practices that violate the human rights of the Palestinian people and others in the occupied territories.
This resolution expressed “grave concern about the critical situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem,” citing unlawful Israeli practices and measures. It specifically called for the immediate cessation of illegal settlement activities, the construction of the wall, and the lifting of the blockade of the Gaza Strip. The resolution also demanded a complete cessation of excessive and indiscriminate use of force and military operations against the civilian population.
Multiple resolutions addressing Israeli settlements issues supported by India
One of the resolutions, titled ‘The occupied Syrian Golan,’ received approval by a recorded vote of 146 in favor to 2 against (Israel, United States), with 23 abstentions. The resolution called upon Israel to refrain from altering the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure, and legal status of the occupied Syrian Golan, particularly emphasizing the cessation of Israeli settlements activities. It also urged Israel to stop imposing Israeli citizenship and identity cards on the Syrian citizens in the region and to cease repressive measures against the population.
India’s support for this resolution aligns with its commitment to addressing concerns related to the occupied territories and maintaining the stability of the region.
India also voted in favor of the resolution on the ‘Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.’ The draft, approved by a recorded vote of 160 in favor to 4 against (Canada, Israel, Federated States of Micronesia, United States), with 7 abstentions, expressed deep concern about UNRWA’s critical financial situation. It emphasized the necessity to support the agency despite attempts to discredit it, citing the challenging socioeconomic conditions faced by Palestine refugees in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
UN resolution backing Palestine refugees gains approval
Furthermore, India supported a resolution titled ‘Assistance to Palestine refugees,’ which was approved by a recorded vote of 161 in favor to 1 against (Israel), with 11 abstentions. This resolution affirmed the continued importance of the work of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), highlighting the necessity of ongoing support.
In a notable decision, India supported the draft resolution titled ‘Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues,’ securing approval through a recorded vote of 156 in favor to 6 against (Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 8 abstentions. This resolution delved into the intricate matter of Palestine refugees’ properties and revenues, highlighting India’s active involvement in addressing multifaceted challenges in the region.
From where did it all shift?
Previously, India, along with notable allies such as Australia, Canada, Germany, Japan, Ukraine, and the UK, chose to abstain from voting on a crucial UN General Assembly draft resolution proposed by Jordan. The resolution, titled “Protection of Civilians and upholding legal and Humanitarian Obligations,” was aimed at establishing an immediate humanitarian truce in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The resolution’s key provisions included a call for unrestricted humanitarian access in the Gaza Strip. Over 40 nations, including Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan, Russia, and South Africa, voiced their support for the resolution, emphasizing the international community’s concern for the well-being of civilians caught in the crossfire. Prior to the vote, the UN General Assembly considered an amendment to the resolution, proposed by Canada and co-sponsored by the United States. The amendment aimed to address the omission of Hamas in the original resolution by condemning the group’s attacks in Israel, demanding the humane treatment of hostages, and calling for their immediate release. In a surprising turn of events, India sided with 87 other nations in favor of the amendment, while 55 member states opposed it, and 23 abstained.