After hosting Israel’s Prime Minister and his dear ‘friend’ Benjamin Netanyahu in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is all set to visit Israel’s rival nation Palestine next month. As per TV reports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to travel to the Palestinian capital of Ramallah on February 10. During his visit, Modi is will hold a meeting with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Reportedly, during Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to India, the issue of Indian support to the two-state solution was also discussed between Narendra Modi and Netanyahu. A joint statement issued at the end of the official dialogue between the two sides expressed support for an early “resumption” of the peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority.
Now, with his Palestine visit, he is expected to also reach out to the Arab world. Reportedly, the Prime Minister is also expected to visit UAE and Oman, apart from Palestine, during the trip in the second week of February. In UAE, he is expected to attend an international conference.
Modi’s expected visit will be the first-ever visit by an Indian prime minister to Palestine. Modi’s visit to Israel last year was also the first by an Indian PM. While the modalities for the visit are still being worked out, media reports said Modi was likely to travel to Ramallah in a chopper from Amman in Jordan. The West Bank city of Ramallah is the de facto administrative capital of Palestine.
Notably, last year, when Modi visited Israel, there was tremendous disappointment in Palestine. Khalil Shikaki, the director of Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, had told a visiting group of Indian journalists and politicians last year, there were significant concerns in Palestine that India was moving away from the policies it had followed since 1947. “The current PM (Modi) seems more interested in security and in relations with the West. Palestinians seem to believe that they can no longer count on India’s support,” Shikaki had said, as per media reports.
However, with the recent vote against the US President Donald Trump’s proposal of acknowledging Jeruselem as Israel’s capital, and now, with his visit, Modi is apparently making an attempt to dispel all notions of ‘inclining towards Israel’.