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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, in a strong statement on the Israel-Palestine issue, on Thursday expressed concerns over the rising civilian death toll in Gaza. He said that “it is a fact that the Palestinians have been denied their rights and homeland”. His comments came in while the MEA was interacting with the Indian community during an event in Malaysia. 

Jaishankar said that the October 7 move was a ‘terrorist attack’ but also acknowledged, about the Israeli counteroffensive in Gaza, that “every response must take into account something called international humanitarian law”.

“How different pulls and pressures can be. On one hand, what happened on October 7 was terrorism. On the other hand, nobody would countenance the death of innocent civilians. Countries may be justified in their minds in responding, but you cannot have a response that…every response must take into account something called international humanitarian law,” Jaishankar said, news agency ANI quoted him as saying. 

Jaishankar added, “The fact is whatever the rights and wrongs of the issue, there is an underlying issue of the rights of the Palestinians and the fact that they have been denied their homeland”.

On October 7, Hamas launched an attack in Israel, leaving more than 1200 people killed and over 250 people kept as hostages, out of which over 100 are still in captivity, as per records. 

Targeting the Hamas units, Israel, in response, launched a counteroffensive in the Gaza Strip. The operation has also resulted in civilian casualties. More than 32,000 people have been killed in Gaza including women and children, media reports citing Gaza’s health ministry say. 

It is to be noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first global leaders to condemn the attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7. India has continued with its weight behind the ‘two-state solution’ to the long-running Israel-Palestine conflict.

Meanwhile, Jaishankar is on an official visit to Malaysia, followed by visits to Singapore and the Philippines.

Earlier in the day, he called Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and praised his vision for strengthening ties between India and Malaysia. He also stated that this vision would serve as a catalyst for the development of a more ambitious agenda to advance the bilateral relationship.

He also held a round-table meeting with Malaysian CEOs, who expressed a growing interest in collaborating with Indian industries.

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