Last Updated: March 28, 2024, 08:28 IST

Jaishankar also condemned the terrorist attack that occurred on October 7, referring to it as a grave act of terrorism. (Image: PTI)

Jaishankar also condemned the terrorist attack that occurred on October 7, referring to it as a grave act of terrorism. (Image: PTI)

Jaishankar addresses the Israel-Palestine conflict, emphasizing Palestinian rights and international humanitarian law during his visit to Malaysia

Amid Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Wednesday underlined the rights of Palestinians and the importance of adhering to international humanitarian law.

During his visit to Malaysia, Jaishankar once again described the October 7 attack on Israel as terrorism but he also acknowledged the death of “innocent civilians” in the ongoing conflict that has seen enormous casualties and is set to enter its seventh month.

‘October 7 was terrorism’

“On one hand, what happened on October 7 was terrorism. On the other hand, nobody would countenance the death of innocent civilians,” Jaishankar said during an interaction with the Indian Community in Kuala Lumpur. “Whatever the rights and wrongs of the issue, there is an underlying issue of the rights of the Palestinians and the fact that they have been denied their homeland,” he added.

The war broke out when Hamas launched its unprecedented October 7 attack that resulted in about 1,160 deaths in Israel, mostly civilians. Hamas also took about 250 hostages. Israel says that, after an earlier truce and hostage deal, about 130 captives remain in Gaza, including 34 who are presumed dead. Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed at least 32,490 people in Gaza, most of them women and children, according to the health ministry.

Without naming any country, the external affairs minister said, “Countries may be justified in their own mind in responding (to attack), but every response must take into account something called international humanitarian law.” While condemning the terror attack, minister Jaishankar reiterated India’s longstanding position on the “two-state solution”.

Jaishankar’s remarks came as Israeli forces pounded Gaza on Wednesday and fought Hamas around several hospitals, despite a UN Security Council demand for a ceasefire. Talks in Qatar towards a truce and hostage release deal involving US and Egyptian mediators have brought no result so far, with Israel and the Palestinian militant group blaming each other.

Tensions have risen between Israel and its top ally the United States over dire food shortages in Gaza and the soaring civilian death toll in the war. The US also opposes Israeli plans to push its ground offensive into the far-southern city of Rafah, crowded with up to 1.5 million people, most of them displaced by the war.

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