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Sanket Telang asked: What role can India play in Israel-Palestine conflict? Shouldn't India fully Support Israel as both of us are victims of Terrorism?

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  • V Krishappa replies: Despite India 's considerable footprint in global affairs, its willingness and ability to play a direct role in the Israeli-Palestine conflict is limited. India 's geo-strategic and political interests require that it carefully balance its growing economic and strategic relations with Israel with that of other actors in the region including the Palestinian Authority. Besides, the ability of external actors to foster peace has been severely tested in the past two decades. The 'religion of peace process', seductive as it is, has yielded no tangible results despite the best efforts of President Clinton and now Obama.

    Given limited resources and lack of leverages with major stake holders it is advisable that India limits its current policy of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people and political support in international institutions for the promotion of a two-state solution while continuing to improve strategic and economic relations with Israel. India should leverage its growing influence in the world to counsel Israel to exercise restraint and move towards a two-state solution. It should continue to use it voice in the United Nations and work with major sates in the world towards that end without directly participating in the peace process.

    India is a victim of terrorism as is Israel, but there is an important difference. Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands has been questioned by not only the Palestinian people but also by the Arab and Muslim world as well as the larger international community. Israel is quick to use excessive force and treat the Palestinian population with contempt. It has often shown utter disregard to human rights violations. India cannot and should not imitate Israeli counter-terrorism practice. India has an evolved and unique approach to the menace of terrorism. It is better served by sticking to its first principles - deliberate use of force, democratic co-option, operate within the bounds of law, and use time and patience as strategic tools. India has a long standing political position on the Palestinian question. Any dilution of India’s historical stand will be detrimental to its interests, larger aspirations and its self image as an inclusive democracy.