Israel’s Ambassador to India Naor Gilon on Tuesday said that New Delhi should ban Hamas and designate it as a terror group, reported The Hindu.
On October 7, the Palestinian militant group launched an incursion into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking 200 hostages. Since then, over 15,000 Palestinians, including 6,150 children, have been killed in Gaza in Israel’s relentless air strikes and ground offensive. Israel’s siege of Gaza has led to a humanitarian crisis in the besieged region.
While India has called the attacks on Israel “terrorist acts”, the country has not banned the militant group or designated it a terror outfit.
On Tuesday, Israel and Hamas agreed to extend a temporary ceasefire by two more days. The ceasefire first began on Friday and was scheduled to end on Monday. The pause in hostilities is aimed at facilitating the exchange of hostages held by Hamas and Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. Tel Aviv is also allowing entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza during the truce period.
Gilon said that at the end of the ceasefire, Israel’s focus would turn from northern Gaza to the southern parts of the Palestinian enclave.
He also said that India has been “consistent” in its position on not tolerating terror attacks and that he has raised Israel’s request for Hamas to be added to the list of designated terror entities under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
“We did whatever was expected from our side,” The Times of India quoted Gilon as saying at a media briefing. “Now it is for the Indian government to decide – if, where, how and how fast.”
Tel Aviv has previously also urged India to designate Hamas as a terror outfit.
Asked why Israel took 15 years to ban the Lashkar-e-Taiba, perpetrators of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008, Gilon said that Tel Aviv viewed the terror outfit as a “local organisation” that has not been able to execute terror actions “around the world”, The Hindu reported.
Israeli nationals were killed in the 2008 attacks in Mumbai. Tel Aviv declared Lashkar-e-Taiba as a terror organisation on November 21.
“Usually we don’t list organisations that are not connected to Israel or our region directly,” Gilon said.
He added that Israel had made some exceptions for certain outfits designated terror organisations by the United Nations or the United States. The Lashkar-e-Taiba is banned by both.
The Israeli envoy’s briefing was held on the same day as a press meeting by ambassadors of all Arab nations in New Delhi calling for solidarity with Palestine.
‘India has a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism’
Meanwhile, Ambassador Ruchira Kamboj, India’s permanent representative to the United Nations, on Tuesday said that the loss of civilian lives, especially women and children, and the humanitarian crisis in West Asia is “clearly unacceptable”.
Kamboj said that the “immediate trigger” for the crisis was the October 7 terror attacks in Israel, “which were shocking and deserve our unequivocal condemnation”. “There can be no justifications for terrorism and hostage-taking,” Kamboj said at a UN General Assembly Plenary Meeting.
“Our thoughts are with those who have been taken as hostages,” Kamboj added. “While we welcome the news of the release of hostages, we also call for the immediate and unconditional release of the remaining hostages. India has a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism. We also believe that there is a universal obligation to observe international humanitarian law.”
India’s permanent mission to the United Nations reiterated New Delhi’s support for the two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine dispute. “We firmly believe that only a two-state solution, achieved through direct and meaningful negotiations between both sides on final status issues, will deliver an enduring peace that the people of Israel and Palestine desire and deserve,” Kamboj said.