Aiyar’s latest revolt: UPA depends on Israel, is ignoring Palestine justice

Basking in the glow of what he called the Left's perception of him as a "non-card holding comrade," senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar, the rebel with many causes, has slammed his party and the UPA government — this time over New Delhi's policy on Palestine.

Speaking at a conference on A Just Peace for Palestine last evening, the Rajya Sabha MP said that the UPA government's foreign policy has changed and is now against the country's long-held position on Palestine.

He said he was "sure" that he would not get support from his party in Parliament on forming a group of MPs on Palestine — an idea suggested by CPM general secretary Prakash Karat at the seminar.

Contacted by The Indian Express today, Aiyar said: "We have become so dependent on defence supplies from Israel that when I put up a Rajya Sabha question seeking the government's reply on whether it equated the large number of civilians killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza strip — as found by the Justice Goldstone fact-finding team — with the killings by Hamas, the Ministry of External Affairs disallowed my question, calling it a state secret. Since when has the subject of India-Palestine relations become a state secret, given the fact that we (India) were in the forefront of the Palestinian cause?"

He claimed he had only re-iterated India's traditional position based on what Mahatma Gandhi had said — that Palestine was for Palestinians as England was for English. "India was opposed to partition (of Palestine) and had proposed a one-state solution anchored in democracy with equal political rights for Jews and other Palestinians. This was what put forward by Nehru followed by Indira Gandhi right up to the Rajiv Gandhi era. In fact, Rajiv had taken a tour of the region and had frequent interaction with Yasser Arafat. But after having been on the vanguard, we appear to have gone back," Aiyar said.

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