The Union External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar announced on X, formerly Twitter, that India has sent a second batch of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on November 19 2023. More than 12,000 people have been killed in the ongoing war between the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and the Palestinian militant group HAMAS.
Indian Humanitarian Aid to Gaza
According to S. Jaishankar, the second aid shipment of 32 tonnes was transported by the Indian Air Force's C17 aircraft to Egypt's El-Arish Airport. The EL-Arish Airport is approximately 45 kilometres from the Rafah crossing on Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip.
Israel has designated Rafah as the only crossing point for any humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.
India was the first country in the world to send humanitarian assistance to Palestinians in Gaza after the war between IDF and HAMAS erupted on October 7 2023.
India sent the first batch of around 6.5 tonnes of medical aid and 32 tonnes of disaster relief material to the Palestinians on October 22, 2023. The aid included life-saving drugs, surgical items, tents, sleeping bags, sanitary utilities, water purification tablets, etc., among other necessary items.
War In Gaza
- War erupted in the Gaza Strip after the militant Palestinian group HAMAS attacked Israel on October 7, during which the militant group killed 1,200 people and took 240 people hostage. The IDF launched a counterattack on Gaza to eliminate Hamas and rescue its hostages. Israel has imposed a blockade in the region, and according to various reports, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is very grim. The people are running out of food, water and medicine, and around 12,500 people have been killed in Gaza, including 5000 children.
- HAMAS stands for Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya (Islamic Resistance Movement). It is the largest and most militant group in the Palestinian territories. It is one of the two major political groups of the Palestinians. The other political group is a coalition of moderate Palestinian political parties called the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). The moderate PLO is widely recognised as a representative of the Palestinian people.
- HAMAS, backed by Iran, is considered by many countries as a terrorist group.
- India recognises PLO as the representative of the Palestinians and doesn't recognise HAMAS.
- HAMAS emerged as a part of the militant Muslim Brotherhood's Palestinian branch in 1987 during the first Palestinian uprising, also called intifada.
- The group is committed to armed resistance against Israel and its destruction. It aims to create an Islamic Palestinian state in place of Israel.
- HAMAS has been the de facto governing body in the Gaza Strip since 2007 when it ousted the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas from power.
Leader of HAMAS
Ismail Haniyeh is widely considered Hamas's overall leader. He has been designated as a terrorist by the US Government and is currently living in Qatar.
Mohammed Deif leads the military wing of HAMAS, Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades. The Israeli government accuses him of constructing tunnels in Gaza that allowed the HAMAS fighters to get into Israel from Gaza.
Militant Group supporting HAMAS
- To support HAMAS in its current war with Israel, the militant group Hezbollah has also attempted to attack Israel with rockets, which have been successfully neutralised by the Israeli Anti-missile defence system Iron Dome.
- Hezbollah, in Arabic, means "Party of Allah", is a Shia Muslim militant and political group based in Lebanon. Iran is the major funder and supporter of Hezbollah. During Lebanon's 15-year civil war in 1982, the group was created. It was founded in order to oppose Israel's occupation of Southern Lebanon.
- Israel invaded Southern Lebanon in 1982 to expel Palestinian militants based in the area attacking Israel.
- It is led by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah.
- Israel is the world's only Jewish country situated in West Asia. Both Arab Muslims, known as Palestinians, and Jews claim Palestine as their homeland.
- In November 1947, the United Nations passed a resolution to divide the British-controlled area of Palestine into a Jewish state called Israel and a Muslim state of Palestine.
- The UN resolution was opposed by the Arabs who lived there and by other Arab countries, leading to a war in 1948. The Arabs were beaten, and Israel seized Arab lands.
- In the 1967 war, Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan and the Gaza Strip from Egypt. A large Palestinian population resides in these areas.
- In 1993, the Israeli government led by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) led by Yassar Arafat signed an agreement in Oslo (Norway). The Oslo Accord agreed on a plan to implement a two-state solution.
- The Oslo Accord provides for a Jewish state of Israel and an Independent Palestinian State comprising Gaza and the West Bank.
- The provision of the Oslo Accord is yet to be implemented due to disagreement between both sides and the emergence of hardliners in Israel and Palestine.
- Israel, in the meanwhile, is trying to change the demographic profile of the West Bank by evicting the Palestinians and settling the Jewish population in the area.
- Since 2007, the Palestinian resistance has been led by a militant Islamic group, HAMAS, supported by Iran.
President of Israel: Benjamin Netanyahu