Leaders of various political parties have issued the following joint statement:
Sharon not Welcome in India
The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, is making an official visit to India from September 9, 2003 at the invitation of the Vajpayee government. This is a most unfortunate decision by the government of India.
Ariel Sharon has earned notoriety for his brutal repression of the Palestinian people. As Defence Minister of Israel in 1982, he was directly responsible for the massacre of over 3000 Palestinians in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps in Lebanon. He was forced to resign as Defence Minister after this massacre. Efforts are still on to bring him to justice for this crime.
Sharon represents the most extreme section in Israeli politics which justifies the occupation of the Palestinian and Arab territories. Even today, Israeli armed forces are in occupation of Palestinian towns in the West Bank. There are daily military attacks and targetted assassinations of Palestinian leaders and activists. The wrecking of the Oslo Accord and the recent peace initiatives are primarily due to the policies of the Sharon government.
To have such a person as a honoured guest is an insult to India's longstanding tradition of unequivocal support to the struggle of the Palestinian people for national liberation and an independent state.
We, therefore, strongly oppose the visit by the Israeli Prime Minister to India. We call upon all democratic organisations and citizens to protest against this visit.
|Harkishan Singh Surjeet||H.D. Deve Gowda||Laloo Prasad Yadav|
|General Secretary, CPI(M)||President, JD(S)||President, RJD|
|A.B. Bardhan||Amar Singh||Debabrata Biswas|
|General Secretary, CPI||General Secretary, S.P||General Secretary, F.B|
|K. Pankajakshan||Dipankar Bhattacharya|
|General Secretary, RSP||General Secretary, CPI(ML)|