India chooses not to vote on UN Human Rights report on Israel’s Gaza incursion


India on Friday decided not to vote on the adoption of United Nations Human Rights Council’s report on Israel’s Gaza incursion in 2014.

The report was adopted with 41 countries (including the whole European Union) voting in favour while four other countries including Ethiopia, Macedonia, Paraguay, and Kenya abstained. The US was the only country to vote against it.

The report calls upon both Israel, and Palestine to prosecute perpetrators of war crimes in 2014. It also urges Israel to cooperate with the International Criminal Court. However, an Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the present draft of the resolution was a more moderate version of an original that was submitted by the Palestinian Authority. This version does not call for sanctions or any practical repercussions for Israel.

Israeli incursion of 2014 had caused massive destruction in Palestine killing more than 2,100 civilians including many children.

India’s stand on the report is perceived as ‘unprecedented’ and is being linked to the scheduled visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to Israel. Modi during the last meeting with the Israeli PM, had called Benjamin Netanyahu his ‘friend.’ Modi will be the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel since the two countries established full-fledged diplomatic relations in 1992.

Justifying the India’s stand on the Resolution, the Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup said, ”There is no change in India’s long-standing position of support to the Palestinian cause. The issue in this particular Resolution was the reference to the International Criminal Court (ICC). India is not a signatory to the Rome Statute establishing the ICC. In the past also, whenever a Human Rights Council resolution had made a direct reference to the ICC, as had happened in the Resolutions on Syria and North Korea, our general approach had been to abstain. We have followed the same principle in our voting on today’s Resolution.”

Israel criticized the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for this report and denounced the Resolution as an ‘anti-Israeli manifesto’. Commenting on the report, Netanyahu said that it is singling out Israel when the UN should be focusing on the actions of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad or the militants of Islamic State, also known as ISIS.