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Hopeful Of India Designating Hamas As Terror Organisation: Israeli Ambassador Naor Gilon

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NEW DELHI, Nov 2:  Israel is providing to India more information relating to Hamas and it is hopeful that New Delhi will designate the group as a terrorist organisation as done by around 40 nations, Israeli ambassador Naor Gilon said on Thursday.

In an exclusive interview to PTI, the envoy said India is supporting Israel the way it wanted and that the current “crisis” only proved how strong the ties between the two countries are.

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Delving into various aspects of the Hamas-Israel conflict, he said Tel Aviv is fine with New Delhi sending humanitarian aid to people of Gaza as it is in support of extending humanitarian assistance to those in need.

The ambassador, at the same time, underlined Israel’s expectation from India to designate Hamas as a terrorist organisation.

“We are in a process of providing information and making it very organised,” he said, exuding confidence that New Delhi will heed to Israel’s request.

“Israel is doing it all around the world and not only in India. Hamas is already designated (as a terrorist organisation) in around 40 countries. All the European Union member nations and the countries like the US, the UK, Australia, Canada have done it. We want many of our friends to designate it.”

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Referring to Hamas leader Khaled Mashal virtually participating in a pro-Palestine rally in Kerala, the Israeli envoy said India’s designation of Hamas will help prevent such activities.

“I hope India will go down that road (designating Hamas). I didn’t even get a promise for that. We are doing it as a sincere effort to add as many friendly countries as possible like we see in Lashkar-e-Taiba and other organisations,” he said.

“I think it is very legitimate to request reciprocity,” the envoy added.

To a specific question, he said he was “hopeful” of India designating Hamas as a terror outfit.

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Asked about mounting global concerns over the death of over 8,000 people and the plight of civilians in Gaza in view of the Israeli military offensive, Gilon said his country was doing its utmost to prevent humanitarian suffering and loss of lives.

“For example we took three weeks before we began ground operation. We told the population in Gaza to go South. Unfortunately many did not because there was pressure on them by Hamas. They (Hamas) are hiding behind human shields,” he said.

The Israeli ambassador also asserted that his government was in support of providing humanitarian assistance to people in Gaza.

“We want to avert any humanitarian crisis. We are letting in humanitarian aid. If India wants to send humanitarian aid, it is fine with us. There is no contradiction,” he said.

“We are getting strong support in India. Of course, there are elements which are less friendly, but I think the majority here are strong supporters of Israel and they understand the risk of not eliminating Hamas,” Gilon said.

“All my expectations from India are fulfilled. India is supporting us vocally, India is helping us in ways that we asked. We are very happy. I expect may be to designate Hamas as a terror organisation… But other than that our cooperation and coordination have been very good,” he said without elaborating.

The Israeli envoy said his country was determined to root out the threat of Hamas.

“We went to sleep Friday evening (October 6) thinking Hamas is our neighbour and woke up Saturday morning, October 7, with an understanding that it’s ISIS on our border. One of the main failures of Israel is that we wanted to believe and convince ourselves that they (Hamas) are not jihadists and that they are rational people,” he said.

Over 1,400 people were killed in the unprecedented attacks on Israel by Hamas on October 7. Hamas has held more than 220 people hostage in Gaza.

According to authorities in Gaza, over 8,000 people have been killed in retaliatory strikes by Israel.

Asked if Israel was open to putting a “pause” in the fighting to allow humanitarian aid to reach people in Gaza, the ambassador said “We will see what is the right thing to do on the ground.”

He said if there is a window of opportunity for release of the hostages, then Israel is likely to go for a “pause”.

We do not want to give Hamas any kind of advantage, he said. (PTI)

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