Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a phone call from his Israeli counterpart, Bibi Netanyahu, the night before India abstained from voting at the U.N. Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution condemning alleged Israeli war crimes in the Gaza Strip, Indian media reported this weekend.
According to The Hindu, diplomatic sources confirmed that Netanyahu had called his Indian counterpart on Thursday to persuade Modi to reject the U.N. resolution, which passed by a large majority of 41 votes in favor on Friday.
India was one of five countries to abstain from the vote — the others were Ethiopia, Kenya, Macedonia and Paraguay. The U.S. was the only country to vote no.
Netanyahu apparently spoke to Modi about anti-Israel bias at the UNHRC, which has adopted more resolutions condemning Israel than the rest of the world’s countries combined. He explained to Modi that the 33-page U.N. report equated Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip such as Hamas.
According to Indian media, the abstention marked the first time Asia’s largest democracy voted against a pro-Palestinian resolution at the U.N. — the resolution was written by the Palestinians and Arab states and ignored the alleged Hamas war crimes indicated in the report.
On Friday, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted: “There is no change in India’s support to the Palestinian cause. Issue in today’s vote at UNHRC was the reference to the International Criminal Court (ICC).”
Ties between Israel and India have warmed since Modi came to office in May last year. The Indian premier is expected to be the first to visit the Jewish state, further strengthening relations.