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India had an ‘understanding’ of our actions during Gaza confrontation, says Israeli diplomat

Rony Yedidia Clein, Deputy Chief of Mission, Israel Embassy in India, said though India did not publicly express support, the two countries have an understanding and ties remain strong.

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NEW DELHI: Rony Yedidia Clein, deputy chief of mission of the Israel Embassy in India Friday lauded the ceasefire that was announced between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas, but said it will be determined by ground realities. The envoy also said that Israel believed that India did not show “public expression” of support for the country, unlike some other nations such as the US.

“We do feel satisfied that we have had very precise hits on Hamas’ infrastructure. We have been able to greatly degrade their capabilities of hitting or striking at Israel. We do feel that the underground infrastructure (of Hamas) was very severely damaged. We had a large amount of targets which were successfully hit,” Clein told reporters at a virtual media briefing.

She added that during this period of violence, Israel was able to remove “a vast majority of capabilities of Hamas and of Islamic Jihad”.

“So I believe that we’ve had good results for this campaign and hopefully going forward there won’t be any more strikes from Hamas towards Israel. But going forward we need to see that the calm remains on the ground.”

On the ceasefire that was achieved late Thursday, the Israeli diplomat said, “So far it has been quiet. So far the calm has been kept. We hope that it remains that way and that there will not be any firing from Hamas.”

She also said, Hamas rockets have “murdered” Israeli citizens during this campaign and many countries have recognised that fact.

“Just imagine what would have happened if rockets had been fired on Delhi as they were fired on Jerusalem on the first day of the campaign? Every country has the right to defend its sovereignty and its citizens … Loss of life is tragic,” she said.

Also read: India friend to both Israel and Palestine, must call for immediate ceasefire: Palestine envoy

‘India’s support was not public’

Clein also spoke about how the US and some countries had openly and publicly supported Israel’s actions during this time, unlike India.

Dozens of countries have supported Israel, she said, including the US that gave “whole-hearted support” to Israel’s actions during this campaign.

“Countries in Europe flew Israeli flag over their government buildings in expression of their support for the State of Israel. They know that our actions were necessary and just,” she said.

She added, “When we spoke with our Indian counterparts, we found an understanding from them, although they did not go public, (or) have such public expressions of support as other countries did. We did have an understanding from the Indian government officials that we spoke with about Israeli actions.”

She also mentioned that the Indian public has expressed “a great amount of support and we are very happy with that.”

“We have had conversations with our Indian counterparts and we have understanding with them. Prime Minister Netanyahu mentioned in his speech and in his tweet those countries which had come out in full-hearted statements saying that they support Israel’s right to defend its citizens and that they condemn Hamas action and Hamas rocket fire on Israel,” Clein said.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked as many as 25 countries in a tweet, which included the US, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Australia and Netherlands, among others, except for India.

“Thank you for resolutely standing with the Flag of Israel and supporting our right to self defence against terrorist attacks,” he tweeted, mentioning the flags of these countries.

Clein, however, lauded the statements made by India at the UN Security Council as well as at the UN General Assembly, by T.S. Tirumurti, India’s Ambassador to the UN in New York, urging extreme restraint by both sides and immediate de-escalation of tensions.

“We are always in conversation with our Indian friends. India and Israel have a long-lasting relationship and it’s been getting stronger over the years,” she said.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: Israel faces greater dangers than Hamas’s rockets


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