Palestinian Liberation & The Indian Response ...
The conflict in the Gaza strip has been the symbol of a Palestinian liberation for years. It showed how conflict in the Middle East influenced world politics, and Yasser Arafat was recognized all over the world for his tenacity and cause to a liberation struggle, which he not only believed in but acted it out. But Israel always curried favour with the Western Block, and India remained a passive onlooker, trying to hedge between Israeli militarism and Arafat's brilliant political acumen, commitment to a cause and his apparent effrontery to the Western world, which chagrined them, but endeared him to many political and social platforms all over the world.
Israel's daunting actions, its brutality, its inability to maintain a peace zone continued for decades with the unbridled support of the US. Things came to such a pass that the Palestinian liberation struggle was a mere effete expression, and the suffering of the people for decades was taken as another historical aberration. In the meantime India in its own way lionized both, taking a pro Israeli stance, and at the same time lauding Arafat as a world leader of eminence. India's foreign policy is simple: not to antagonize the US and soft pedal the US baiters. It is debatable whether such a dithering stance on hard matters, affecting human rights help.
The Palestinian liberation struggle has been over a disputed land, but Israel has always acted with nonchalance and impunity, claiming that land, and giving secondary rights, if not no rights to the people of Palestine. This aroused world conscience and sentience, and Yasser Arafat not only became a world leader but an apostate of peace making, not so much king pinning. That is because he saw in the issue not only a quest for rights and liberation, but paradoxically enough a peace making process. There lies his greatness, but Israeli diplomacy shuttled between repression and dialogue. However Arafat became a world supremo and a cult figure. India was quick to point out always its deep empathy for the Palestinian cause, at the same time careful not to antagonize Israel's war mongering ways and rabid incarceration of the Palestinians, with sporadic attacks, and bombing. It is surprising how this frontal attack against what should have been a sovereign republic continued for decades. The UN's surveillance failed to have an impact, with Israeli misdemeanour firmly entrenched in the support base of the Western Block.
However the recent development in the UN where majority countries out voted Israel to restore a semblance of independence in the Gaza strip shows how the power blocs are drifting away from Western and European hegemony. It also indicates a repellent against the Western world who not only took the world for granted, but would outrageously support violent militarism to safeguard its own vested interests.
India should take a lesson or two from this development and take categorical stands on issues affecting world polity, which militates against humanism. There is no need to ingratiate the US for alms, and for political reasons, such as the Pakistan factor. A democracy asserts it self in the midst of such anti human turmoil. If India's interventionist strategies in the then East Pakistan was because of human considerations, then the same thinking should go into all matters which may brutalize societies and countries all over the world.
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Ananya S Guha
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