Immediate de-escalation need of the hour: India on Israel-Gaza violence
United Nations, May 12: Amid escalating tensions between Israel and Palestinian militants, India has condemned all acts of violence, especially rocket attacks from Gaza, and underlined that "immediate de-escalation" is the need of the hour.
India's Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti tweeted on Wednesday that during the Security Council meeting on events in East Jerusalem, he stated that India condemns "all acts of violence, especially rocket attacks from Gaza."
He mourned the tragic demise of an Indian national in Israel and stressed that "immediate de-escalation need of (the) hour" and parties should "refrain from changing status-quo."
A 30-year-old Indian woman in Israel, Soumya Santosh, has been killed in a rocket attack by Palestinian militants from Gaza, according to officials.
Santosh, who hailed from Kerala's Idukki district, worked as a caregiver attending to an old woman at a house in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon.
Ashkelon, which borders the Gaza Strip, has come under massive fire from the Palestinian militants.
At least 53 Palestinians and six Israelis have been killed in spiralling violence as of Wednesday as Gaza-based militants fired hundreds of rockets on Israel since Monday evening.
Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes at Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in the coastal strip.
On Tuesday, India at the UN expressed deep concern at the clashes and violence in Jerusalem's Temple Mount as well as over evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods.
Ambassador Tirumurti had tweeted that India told the world body "deeply concerned at clashes & violence in Haram Al Sharif/Temple Mount" and "equally concerned about evictions in Sheikh Jarrah & Silwan neighbourhoods."
He said India calls on both sides to avoid changing the status-quo on the ground. He added that the old city also houses Al Zawiyya Al Hindiyya - The Indian Hospice.
India urged all parties to adhere to Security Council resolution 2334, which reaffirms that "the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace."
The resolution also "reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard."
Tirumurti stressed the need to immediately resume direct peace talks and commitment to a two-state solution.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday had also expressed grave concern "by the serious escalations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, including the latest escalation in Gaza, which add to the heightened tensions and violence in occupied East Jerusalem."
He said he is deeply saddened to learn of the increasingly large numbers of casualties, including children, from Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, and of Israeli fatalities from rockets launched from Gaza.
"The Secretary-General's thoughts are with the families of the victims. Israeli security forces must exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force. The indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli population centres is unacceptable," a statement issued by his spokesperson said.
"This spiralling escalation must cease immediately. The United Nations is working with all relevant parties to de-escalate the situation urgently."