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‘Indians For Palestine’: A Call For Justice In Gaza

Over 200 people gathered under the banner of ‘Indians for Palestine’ at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi, marking the first-ever public meeting to pledge for a free Palestine.

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Senior journalist Siddharth Varadarajan, lawyer Anand Grover and others at the event, ‘International Court and Justice in Gaza’, in Delhi | Photo: Outlook India
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Many had keffiyehs wrapped around their neck. Many had scarves that read: ‘Free Palestine’. A few were dressed in green, white, and black, and most wore a badge to show solidarity with Palestinians suffering a genocidal war. Over 200 people gathered under the banner of ‘Indians for Palestine’ at the Constitution Club of India, New Delhi, marking the first-ever public meeting to pledge for a free Palestine.

The event, ‘International Court and Justice in Gaza’, on Friday, saw several key speakers across different backgrounds -- lawyer Anand Grover, Palestinian Ambassador to India Adnan Abu Al Haija, former diplomat KP Fabian, senior journalist Siddharth Varadarajan, CPI(M) leader and former Lok Sabha MP Subhashini Ali, General Secretary of AITUC Amarjeet Kaur, , general secretary of CPI(L) Dipankar Bhatacharya, and senior advocate and Congress member Salman Khurshid, -- who upheld the moral and legal obligation of India, as a member of the Internationational Court of Justice (ICJ), to push for a ceasefire in Gaza and cease funding of Israel’s military actions.

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On 26 January 2024, in response to South Africa’s application against Israel for carrying out genocidal acts in Gaza, the ICJ ruled that Israel must “take all measures within its power” to prevent such actions. The ruling cited “...take all measures within its power to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide in relation to members of the Palestinian group in the Gaza Strip.” This ruling is of historic significance because it is the first time that the world’s highest court has held Israel accountable for its violations of international law against Palestinians.

South Africa, the first country to drag Israel to ICJ, has a history of surviving apartheid. “We as South Africans sense, see, hear and feel to our core the inhumane discriminatory policies and practices of the Israeli regime as an even more extreme form of the apartheid that was institutionalised against Black people in my country,” said Vusimuzi Madonsela, South Africa’s ambassador to the Netherlands, where the ICJ is based.

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The meeting, moderated by Ayesha Kidwai, an academician, and Jean Dreze, an economist and activist, came as a symbol of rage, anger, and protest against the Centre which has long tried to silence Indians protesting against the genocidal war on Gaza.

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At the ‘International Court and Justice in Gaza’ event in Constitution Club, New Delhi | Photo: Outlook India
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“There is a haunting silence by authorities across the world, barring a few exceptions, and so much of it comes from our land. What South Africa has done should put our legal fraternity to shame,” says Anand Grover, a senior lawyer known for his legal activism relating to homosexuality. He adds, “And with this, we aim to break the silence and I am glad that we are starting today.”

Commenting along similar lines and condemning the inaction by key international powers, K P Fabian, former Indian ambassador to Qatar, says, “The genocide is not being committed by Israel alone but by the entire international community. You see, western lives have always been more valuable than non-Western ones.”

Drawing a parallel between the genocide and the holocaust, Fabian believes that while history was not televised, the atrocities against Palestinians are being, yet the world lets it happen.

However, pointing at the fallacy of being televised or not, senior journalist Siddharth Varadarajan believes no amount of documentation matters. “For the longest time, we have cherished living in an illusion. After the realities of the holocaust were exposed to the world, the society built up a theory, ‘If only the world could see it then’,” Varadarajan says, stating the bitter truth: But the Gaza genocide proves that it does not matter.

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Soon, the crowd bursts out into a chorus: ‘Shame, shame!’ They point out how the Indian government has been passive in its efforts to stop the genocide, instead, it continues with its business deals with Israel.

Following the talks on the business deals, Subhasini Ali, CPI(M) leader, raises a pertinent question - why has the United States constantly vetoed its vote to call for a ceasefire?

“One has to understand the roots of Israel, which is an outpost of an imperialist world. For the US, Israel is a dagger at the heart of the Arab world, a control of the oil. And with the genocidal war on Gaza, the mask has fallen off. The face of imperialism has been exposed.”

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Ali points out the misinterpretation of the war as a religious conflict and contends, “It’s a conflict between people suffering from the worst phases of colonialism and the falls of imperialism.”

The speakers then hold the Gaza genocide as a mirror to India’s complicit behaviour towards Palestinians.

As the United Nation’s top court hears arguments from more than 50 states following a request by the UN General Assembly to issue a non-binding opinion on the legal consequences of the Israeli occupation, Israel continues its attacks across central and southern Gaza killing more than 100 people in the last 24 hours.

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