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BRICS Nations Condemn Israel's Rafah Attacks, 'Blatant Disregard of International Law'

The joint statement issued after the meeting in Russia makes no bones of the group's criticism of Israel's actions. India is a founding member.
The flags of the BRICS nations in Russia. Photo: X/@mae_rusia

New Delhi: The BRICS bloc of developing countries, including India, on June 10 condemned Israel’s operation into Rafah in southern Palestine and expressed concern at Tel Aviv’s “disregard” of orders of the International Court of Justice.

The foreign ministers of the expanded BRICS grouping met at Nizhny Novgorod in Russia on Monday. Since cabinet ministers’ portfolios were yet to be announced when the trip began, India was represented by secretary (economic relations), Dammu Ravi, at the meeting. 

India is one of the founder members of the BRICS along with Brazil, Russia and China and South Africa. After the bloc doubled its membership at last year’s summit, Egypt, Iran, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia joined. These countries participated in the first major meeting of the expanded summit on Monday.

Following the start of the Gaza war, India has called for cessation of violence in Gaza, but has stopped short of condemning Israel publicly.

However, the joint statement issued after the meeting in Russia makes no bones of its criticism of Israel’s actions.

Expressing concern at the increasing attacks in Rafah, the joint statement said:

“The Ministers further condemned the Israeli military operation in Rafah and its ramifications that directly impact the civilian lives, especially in view of the high density of Palestinian civilians in this location, and the humanitarian catastrophic results due to the suspension of the Rafah crossing from the Palestinian side”.

On October 7 last year, Palestinian militant group Hamas stormed into southern Israel, killing around 1,200 people and took over 250 hostages into Gaza. Israel launched an invasion of Gaza, bombarding the narrow territory and reducing most of the buildings t0 rubble. As per Gaza’s health ministry, more than 36,000 people have been killed in the last nine months.

Last month, Israeli forces launched an operation in Rafah, which they claimed was the last stronghold of Hamas combat units. The international community expressed concern that a military operation in Rafah would exponentially increase civilian casualties, as most of the Palestinians had fled there to escape the fighting.

“They acknowledged the provisional measures of the International Court of Justice in the legal proceedings instituted by South Africa against Israel. The Ministers expressed serious concern at Israel’s continued blatant disregard of international law, the UN Charter, UN resolutions and Court orders,” said the statement.

Expressing concern at the deterioration of the situation in Palestine due to Israeli military operation, the joint statement also called for implementation of UN resolutions that demand an immediate ceasefire and unhindered delivery of aid to Palestine. “They equally called for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and civilians who are being illegally held captive”.

The joint statement also affirmed support for Palestine’s full membership of the United Nations and for the two-state solution for the intractable Israeli-Palestinian dispute.

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