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'Israel must vacate occupied territories': Vajpayee’s 1977 speech resurfaces

In his historic speech which is listened with much interest even today, Vajpayee also called Israel invader saying it must not be allowed to “enjoy the fruits of invasion”. Read More

Monday October 9, 2023 12:27 PM, ummid.com News Network

'Israel must vacate occupied territories': Vajpayee’s 1977 speech resurfaces

[Al Amin Muhammad Mosque in Khan Yunis, Gaza was bombed and destroyed by the Israeli occupation forces Sunday Oct 08, 2023.]

New Delhi: Amidst the fierce campaign on India’s social media space between the supporters of Israel and Palestine an old speech of former Prime Minister of India and the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party’s tallest leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee has resurfaced.

The latest debate on the Middle East crisis started after the Palestinian resistance group Hamas fired more than 5000 homemade rockets into the territories occupied by Israel simultaneously sending its fighters in as many as 22 locations for ground operations Saturday October 07, 2023. The Israeli regime responded with bombardment of Gaza, the City it has blocked since 2007.

People supporting Palestine and those who are with Israel took on different social media sites to express solidarity to the two rivals. However, majority is of the people who are rational in their stand, opposing all kinds of violence and demanding a just solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. This is also the long-held stand of the successive governments in India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi as against this decades old policy of the country, that was also the public stand of his own party under Atal Bihari Vajpayee, took a contrasting stand and expressed solidarity with Israel.

As a reminder to this hard fact, social media users digged out the old speech of Atal Bihari Vajpayee and posted it on different social media platforms including X, originally launched as Twitter.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee Speech 1997

Addressing a mammoth victory rally of the Janata Party in New Delhi after the defeat of Congress Leader Indira Gandhi in the 1977 General Elections, Atal Bihari Vajpayee spoke on various issues including India’s Foreign Policy under the new regime and about the country’s stand on Israel-Palestine conflict.

“Speculations are rife about our stand on the Middle East crisis. It is being said that Janata Party has formed the government and it will ally with Israel and not support Arabs.”

“Morarji Bhai has already clarified the situation. To remove any confusions, I want to reiterate that we will look at each question on the basis of merits and demerits.”

“But our policy regarding the Middle East is very clear. Israel must vacate and clear the Arab land it has (illegally) occupied”, he said as those present in the rally erupted in applause.

In his historic speech which is listened with much interest even today, Vajpayee also called Israel invader saying it must not be allowed to “enjoy the fruits of invasion”.

"In mutual relations, we do not accept the aggressor to enjoy the fruits of the invasion. So, the rules that apply to us must also apply to others”, he said.

“The Arab land must be vacated and the appropriate rights of Palestinians should be honored”, he said adding that India has recognized Israel the way other countries including the Soviet Union and the United States did.

Sudheendra Kulkarni who has shared Vajpayee's speech on social media platform X was his aide when he became Prime Minister after 1999 General Elections.

How things got complicated?

Israel was formed in 1948 by a resolution by the United Nations, and two years later India formerly recognized Israel in 1950. But, the complication started when Israel began expanding its Zionist agenda and occupied the Palestinian lands disregarding various charters and resolutions of the United Nations.

As per the original UN resolution, Israel was given 44 per cent of the Palestinian land. It however has illegally occupied more than 78 per cent of Palestinian land as of now, as per the UN estimates. Simultaneously, calling Jews from different parts of the world to settle down in the occupied territories. Israel built colonies for these settlers who in a number of cases also forcibly dragged out Palestinian families from their homes and started living in them.

The evacuated families are now living under a miserable situation in refugee camps. As per the UN data, close to 1.5 million Palestinians are currently living in 58 refugee camps located throughout Palestine and neighboring countries. The United Nations says the plight of the Palestinian refugees is the longest unresolved refugee problem in the world.

Coupled with its expansion plan, Israel routinely rounds up and kill Palestinian civilian in the guise of “counter insurgency operations”. As per the United Nations, as many as 5,739 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli forces from 2008 to 2021. Of them 39% are civilians including 22% children and 10% women. In the retaliations by Palestinians that followed, 251 Israelis were killed, majority of them soldiers.

Stating that Israeli forces have killed this year as many as 248 Palestinian, 40% of them children, Mustafa Barghouti, General Secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) and a member of Palestinian Legislative Council said the latest Hamas attack on Israel is the result of this which got aggregated by regular provocations by illegal settlers and the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s latest speech at the 78th UN General Assembly Session where he displayed a new Middle East map without Palestine.

Latest update from Gaza, Israel

Meanwhile, the death toll in the current escalation between Israel and Palestinians has gone further up. According to media reports, more than 700 people have been killed in Israel whereas over 400 Palestinians have died in Gaza following the Israeli air strikes and bombardments.

Israeli rescuers say they've found more than 250 bodies at the site of the Supernova music festival - which was one of the first ground targets during this unprecedented assault by Hamas as part of its "Operation al Aqsa Storm" and "Flood al Aqsa Operation" campaign, according to BBC.

Meanwhile, Israel has amassed more than 100,000 troops near Gaza leading to the fear that it is planning ground invasion.

In the related development, former prime minister and current leader of the opposition, Yair Lapid, has expressed willingness to join an emergency unity government as Israel has declared war with Hamas. But before that he wants certain members of the current government, who belong to right-wing parties, to resign from their positions.


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