Media ignores Indians volunteering to fight for Israel

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While the Indian media has made a lot of noise over a former Hamas chief addressing online a pro-Palestine rally in Kerala, it has completely ignored a large number of Indians having allegedly volunteered to fight for Israel. Even the intelligence and investigative agencies are silent on the issue though in the past they have arrested several persons trying to make contact with foreign outfits to fight for foreign governments. Will investigative agencies wake up and investigate who wanted to fight for Israel against the policies of the Government of India? Government of India’s official policy on the issue is that it wants an independent and sovereign State of Palestine. So, how can an Indian citizen volunteer to fight for Israel that has illegally occupied Palestine?

Syed Khalique Ahmed

NEW DELHI—There has been a lot of uproar in our mainstream media as well as the social media over Khaled Mashal, a former head of Hamas, a Palestinian resistance movement against the illegal occupation of Palestine for about eight decades, addressing a pro-Palestine rally in Kerala’s Malappuram district on October 27. State BJP president K Surendran, reacting over the incident, demanded action against the leaders of the Youth Solidarity Movement (YSM) who had organized the rally and allowed Mashal to address the audience online to simply present his viewpoint about why the Palestinians and its resistance movement- Hamas –have gone to war with Israel.

Did Mashal say anything inimical to the national interest of India? Did he ask the audience to mobilize people from India to fight for Palestine or extend any kind of material help to Hamas fighters, equivalent to Indian freedom fighters against the British occupation? A police investigation into the video speech of the Palestinian leader failed to find anything offensive to India or any other country. He only focused on how Israel has illegally occupied Palestinian territories and destroyed half of Gaza since October 7, 2023. How the Israeli forces have destroyed hospitals, universities, mosques, churches, temples, and even UN institutions in Gaza? The Israeli army is indulging in the killing of men, women and children in Gaza which amounts to genocide. He also spoke about how Israel is trying to demolish the al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site of Islam, and build a temple over there.

Then why should the BJP oppose it or criticize it? Is Hamas a banned organization in India? It also does not operate in India. Hamas is a political party that has won elections in Gaza and even now, it is officially the ruling party in Gaza. How can one call a ruling party a group of terrorists? Have they targeted anyone other than fighting a war with Israel to get an Independent Palestine? Don’t they have a right to fight for the defence of their people and their country from foreign aggression? Does the BJP want to stop pro-Palestine rallies in India by launching verbal attacks on the organizers of pro-Palestine rallies?

Contrast this with the candid admission of Israeli Ambassador to India Naor Gilon who told ANI news agency on October 12 that he could raise another volunteer Army of Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) given the huge number of Indians having volunteered to fight for Israel.

Sharing information with ANI, he said he got calls from ministers, senior government officials, and big businessmen offering any kind of help to Israel. He said that the response of Indians to the social media of the Israeli embassy was amazing. “Everyone is telling me, I want to volunteer, I want to fight for Israel,” ANI quoted the Israeli ambassador to have said. With the level of support he got telephonically and through social media , Gilon said that Israel could raise another IDF (Israeli Defence Force) unit exclusively from Indian volunteers.

Gilon said he had served in many countries but the kind of support he got for Israel from India was unprecedented.

However, the BJP politicians and the media that raked up the former Hamas leader having addressed a pro-Palestine rally in Kerala online have ignored the Israeli envoy’s statement, revealing about Indians volunteering to fight for Israel. It is a matter for police investigation. The police must probe and find out the identities of people who called up the Israeli embassy and expressed their willingness to fight for Israel without permission of the Government of India. India is not a party to the war and therefore, people calling up a foreign embassy and expressing their wish to join the military forces of a foreign country amounts to violation of national laws. The intelligence and security forces in the past have arrested several persons who wanted to join foreign outfits to fight for foreign governments. However, taking out peaceful rallies, demanding an end to the war and genocide, and illegal foreign occupation of a country is an altogether different thing.

Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after attacks by Hamas on October 7, expressed his solidarity with Israel, the Ministry for External Affairs on October 12 came out with country’s official stand on establishing a sovereign and independent State of Palestine.

India has always in the past supported the cause of Palestine in the United Nations from Pt Jawaharlal Nehru to India Gandhi to Atal Bihari Vajpayee. This policy of India was a continuation of Mahatma Gandhi’s assertion that Palestine belonged to Palestinians in the same way as Britain belonged to the Britishers and France to the French. Palestinian leaders from Yasser Arafat to current Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas have visited India as many as 20 times from April 1997 to May 2017. Mahmoud Abbas met the then President late Pranab Mukherjee, vice-president Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the then Minister of External Affairs late Sushma Swaraj when Mahmoud Abbas visited India in May 2017. Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) led by Yasser Arafat was allowed to establish its permanent office in Delhi in 1975 and the Congress government in 1980 with P V Narasimha Rao as External Affairs Minister granted full diplomatic status to PLO. It was in 1980 that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi invited Yasser Arafat to a two-day official visit to India.

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