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26 Oct, 2023 09:18

Israel asks India to designate Hamas as ‘terrorist’ group

West Jerusalem's ambassador suggested New Delhi should make the decision because it has also been “a victim of terrorism”
Israel asks India to designate Hamas as ‘terrorist’ group

Israel has asked India to designate Hamas as a “terrorist” organization following the group’s unprecedented attack on October 7, which left at least 1,400 Israelis dead.

We spoke to the relevant authorities here [in India],” said Israeli Ambassador to New Delhi Naor Gilon. “It is not the first time we spoke about it. I think we both understand the threat of terrorism. It is not something we are putting pressure on.”  

He said India’s designation of Hamas as a terrorist group was “due” because of the countries’ shared “war on terror,” as quoted by the Hindustan Times.

Gilon said Israeli officials had made the request of their Indian counterparts following the attack on October 7, and “are still in dialogue.”“We are speaking to India. It is a friendly talk,” he added.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was one of the first world leaders to condemn Hamas’ attack on Israel as “terrorism,” although he didn’t name the group in his statement. Later, he condemned “terrorism in all its forms and manifestations” during a phone call with his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu.

On Wednesday, the Israeli envoy said Modi’s comments “unequivocally condemning terrorism” had set a “very clear tone.” “When it comes to terrorism,” Gilon said, “India is also coming from the point of view of someone who knows what it is talking about, being itself a victim of terrorism.”

Commenting on Israel’s ongoing offensive in Gaza, the ambassador described the operation as “a war of being able to survive in the Middle East.” “We live in a very tough neighborhood,” he remarked, adding that “if you are perceived to be weak, your life is going to be miserable.”

He alleged that Iran has been “financing, training and equipping Hamas.” However, in the aftermath of the attack, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei denied any Iranian involvement.

While condemning “terrorism” following the attack by Hamas, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi also emphasized that civilian casualties in the ongoing conflict were “a matter of serious and continuing concern.” New Delhi also reiterated its position in favor of “direct negotiations for establishing a two-state solution” to resolve the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Modi, during a conversation with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas last week, reaffirmed New Delhi’s commitment to continuing humanitarian assistance for the Palestinian people.

Established in 1987, Hamas gained control over Gaza in 2007. The US, UK, Israel, Australia, Japan and the European Union are among the countries and regional blocs that have officially designated the group as a terrorist organization. Most of the major Western countries, in principle, have backed Israel’s retaliatory strikes against Hamas in Gaza, which have now killed at least 6,546 Palestinians and wounded 17,439 others, according to the region’s health ministry.