Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
West Bank and issues associated:
Mike Pompeo recently paid the first visit by a U.S. Secretary of State to an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, in a parting show of solidarity with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by the outgoing Trump administration.
- He also issued guidelines for Israeli products made in settlements to be labelled “Made in Israel” or “Product of Israel” when imported to the United States, removing the distinction between products made within Israel and those produced in occupied territory.
Mr. Pompeo’s visit departed from past policy that had kept top U.S. officials away from settlements, which Palestinians view as obstacles to a viable future State.
Palestinians accused Mr. Pompeo of helping Israel to cement its control over West Bank land that they seek for a State.
Where is West Bank?
It is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south, west and north. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore.
What are the disputed settlements here? Who lives there?
- The West Bank was captured by Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
- Israel snatched it back during the Six Day War of 1967, and has occupied it ever since. During this war, the country defeated the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.
- It has built some 130 formal settlements in the West Bank, and a similar number of smaller, informal settlements have mushroomed over the last 20-25 years.
- Over 4 lakh Israeli settlers — many of them religious Zionists who claim a Biblical birthright over this land — now live here, along with some 26 lakh Palestinians.
- The territory is still a point of contention due to a large number of Palestinians who live there and hope to see the land become a part of their future state.
- When Israel took control of the land in 1967 it allowed Jewish people to move in, but Palestinians consider the West Bank illegally occupied Palestinian land.
Are these settlements illegal?
The United Nations General Assembly, the UN Security Council, and the International Court of Justice have said that the West Bank settlements are violative of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
- Under the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), an occupying power “shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.
Under the Rome Statute that set up the International Criminal Court in 1998, such transfers constitute war crimes, as does the “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”.
India: India traditionally believes in the 2-state solution and supports the establishment of a sovereign independent and a viable state of Palestine. However, India’s support for Palestine has not deterred its growing relationship with Israel.
- Six- day war- countries involved, reasons and the outcome.
- Where is Gaza Strip?
- What’s there in the Middle East peace plan?
- Where is Jerusalem?
- Who are Palestinians and what are their demands?
- Countries surrounding Israel.
Does India support the establishment of a sovereign independent state of Palestine? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.