Dhaka, Bangladesh
Well voted

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Well voted

The government of India deserves to be commended for voting in favour of the resolution moved in the United Nations General Assembly on Jerusalem. The resolution effectively condemns the unilateral US move declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and calls for compliance with Security Council resolutions on the status of the city, which is also claimed by Palestine as its capital. Most of the world, too, views East Jerusalem as a part of Palestine. India was among the 128 nations that voted for the resolution, despite the unseemly threats from the podium — a first in recent memory — by US permanent representative to the UN Nikki Haley, and President Donald Trump himself. There had been concerns about which way India would vote. New Delhi-based envoys of Arab states were forthright in expressing their worry to the Minister of State for External Affairs, M.J. Akbar, earlier this month. Clearly, the concerns have deepened as India-Israel ties have improved. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel this year, the first by an Indian PM, was celebrated by both countries, but was noticed even in Israel for the non-inclusion of Palestine in the itinerary. Despite India’s voting pattern in the UN Human Rights Council earlier this year, where it voted against Israel on four out of five resolutions and abstained on one, the impression was growing that India had started viewing Palestine through the lens of domestic majoritarian politics. The UNGA vote is a timely reassurance that India abides by its principled and long-standing policy and position on Palestine. President Trump and Ambassador Haley have threatened dire consequences for those who voted for the resolution. But as another US President discovered, the world is not easily divided into “with us or against us”. A block of 128 countries in the UNGA voted in favour of the resolution; only six voted against, including Israel, the two central American nations of Honduras and Guatemala, and three Pacific island nations; 35, including neighbours Canada and Mexico, abstained. Significantly, among those who voted for the resolution were the other four members of the Security Council including France and Britain, 28 EU member countries, most of South-east Asia and the East Pacific including Japan and South Korea, the entire Arab and Muslim world, major recipients of US aid including Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and all of south Asia except Bhutan, which was among the abstainers. The vote is non-binding, but its symbolic value is no less for that. — The Indian Express

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