Over the last few hours, Twitter users in India have thrown themselves enthusiastically into supporting Israel and Palestine. While the arguments range from non-existent to vehement and persuasive, many would be hard pressed to understand exactly what was going on. A somewhat contradictory trend, both "#IndiaStandsWithIsrael" and "#IndiaStandsWithPalestine" have been trending on the microblogging site, well known political and business figures as well as ordinary netizens taking up the call.
Twitter reasoning aside, most would recognise that India cannot be supporting both Israel and Palestine in a matter that apparently requires one to take sides. It has been over three decades since India recognised Palestine's statehood, with Narendra Modi, becoming the first Prime Minister of India to visit Palestine in 2018. At the same time, India and Israel maintain robust relations, turning the situation into something of a grey area.
Over the last few days, hundreds of Palestinians have been affected after clashes in the contentious territory. The recent flare up stems from the fact that over 70 Palestinians are set to be evicted from the Sheikh Jarrah area in the coming weeks, to be replaced by right-wing Jewish Israelis. According to reports, the Palestinians live in houses built on land that courts have ruled were owned by Jewish religious associations before the establishment of Israel in 1948.
Over the last few days, the city has been embroiled in intense chaos as Palestinians clash with the Israeli police, with both sides blaming the other for igniting the confrontations. Over 300 Palestinians have been injured in the riots, many seriously.
There have been multiple flare ups in rencent days, with the latest being a clash at the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site. At least 215 Palestinians were hurt in the violence at the mosque compound, including 153 who were hospitalised, Palestinian medics said. The list of injured also included police officials.
The crackdown and planned evictions have evoked widespread condemnation from Israel's Arab allies and expressions of concern from the US, European Union and United Nations. And now, from Indian Twitter users, comes the hashtag, "India Stands With Palestine".
But where there is a trend, there is also a counter trend. For every viewpoint that being propagated, there is (apparently) a counter-point to be found on Twitter. And so, as some tweeted out their support for Palestine, others decided to balance the scales with supportive messages for Israel. We feel compelled to mention here that neither side has seen fit to share their take on the ongoing situation or explain why India was standing with their chosen territory. Indeed, many decided to take the confusing route of sharing messages of support with the hashtags for both countries attached.