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Genocide’ in Gaza, not war: Yechury at solidarity protest

In New Delhi on June 1, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury described Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza as “not a war, but a genocide” during a solidarity protest for Palestine at Jantar Mantar. Yechury and other Left organizations demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and criticized the BJP-led government for its support of Israel.

Yechury emphasized that the situation is not a conventional war between two armed forces but an attack on unarmed civilians, calling it unacceptable. He reminisced about a time when Indian passports were not valid for travel to Israel and South Africa, implying that the current government has shifted from India’s historical support for Palestine to backing Israel.

The protest also saw participation from Delhi Deputy Mayor and Aam Aadmi Party leader Aaley Mohammad Iqbal, along with representatives from various organizations like Pragatisheel Mahila Sangathan, Janwadi Mahila Samiti, SFI, DYFI, AIDSO, KYS, AISA, CPI(ML-New Democracy), CITU, Daha, and Collective. These groups demanded a ceasefire, an end to arms supplies to Israel, and cessation of violence, while voicing their support for Palestine.

Protesters held placards and raised slogans, urging global pressure on Israel to halt its offensive. Yechury accused the Modi government of deviating from India’s long-standing foreign policy of supporting the Palestinian cause and called for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be tried by the International Court of Justice for war crimes.

Heavy fighting has been reported in Rafah, a border city in Gaza, as Israel’s military expands its offensive in the south. This has caused significant displacement, with over 10 lakh Palestinians seeking refuge in war-ravaged areas lacking basic necessities, as reported by the United Nations.

Israel’s offensive began after Hamas’ attack on October 7, which resulted in the death of about 1,200 Israelis and the abduction of around 250 people. The ongoing conflict has led to the death of approximately 36,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

Recent Israeli strikes on Rafah have drawn widespread condemnation, including from some of Israel’s closest allies, after local health officials reported at least 45 Palestinian deaths, including displaced people in tents. Prime Minister Netanyahu referred to this incident as a “tragic mishap.”

India’s External Affairs Ministry has expressed deep concern over the civilian casualties and emphasized the need to respect international humanitarian law. India continues to advocate for de-escalation and the creation of conditions conducive to resuming peace negotiations aimed at a two-state solution.

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