‘India’s improved ties with Israel could benefit Palestine’
Ramallah :India’s improved relations with Israel could actually benefit Palestine, experts said here, underlining that the Palestinian leadership saw an opportunity in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in reviving the peace process with Israel. Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Palestine, is reaching Ramallah amid heightened tensions in the region after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. India has consistently voted in favour of resolutions supporting the Palestinian cause at international forums, an issue that has bothered strategic partner Israel. Ahmad Majdalani, a Palestine Liberation Organisation Executive Committee member, said improved relations between Israel and India could help the Palestinians. “The growing ties between them could be positive, because now India has more leverage with Israel and can press it in our favour,” Majdalani was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post. In discussions with several officials in Ramallah, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, it appears that the Palestinian leadership sees in the Indian Prime Minister’s visit an opportunity to seek his assistance in pushing forward the deadlocked peace process. “India today enjoys wider acceptance in the global community. The recent participation of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders in its Republic Day function is a clear demonstration of its enhanced status. Its membership in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and visibility at several leading international forums, clearly shows that it is today a global player,” an official said. Another official pointed at the “moral standing” India enjoys in the international community which can be put to good use. The hype around India’s strategic ties with Israel and the bonhomie around Modi’s visit to Israel and its Prime Minister’s visit to India also do not seem to perturb the Palestinians. “Well even Jordan and Egypt have full diplomatic relations with Israel so why can’t India have,” said Ayman, a university student. His friends seem to back the same contention displaying a great degree of acquaintance of international politics. Some appreciated India’s support for the Palestinians at the UN despite all the publicity around the personal chemistry between Modi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnayahu. When asked about India’s growing engagement with Israel, President Mahmoud Abbas himself emphaticlally asserted that “any state has the right to establish relations with other countries”. The Indian Prime Minister would be skipping Israel during his tour of the Middle East in a clear message that New Delhi is de-hyphenating its ties with Israel and Palestine.