In his speech, PM carefully edited out the mention of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Modi decided to leave the mention of ‘united’.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech at Ramallah said that India hoped Palestine becomes an independent and sovereign state soon. This is the first time India has taken such a stance, departing from the earlier notion that included mention of a ‘united’ and ‘viable’ Palestine. Modi earlier became the first PM to visit the Palestine state. In his speech, PM carefully edited out the mention of East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine. Modi decided to leave the mention of ‘united’. PM Modi also avoided mention of the word ‘viable’ in his speech, something that both then President Pranab Mukherjee and then PM Manmohan Singh had mentioned in the past. There was a subtle recognition of certain facts by PM through this approach. According to Indian Express columnist Shubhajit Roy, “By dropping the call for a ‘united Palestine’, Modi is finally reconciling India’s position to the ‘new ground realities’ and the ‘facts on the ground’ — perceived to be a win for the Israeli government”. Modi then added that India hopes that Palestine finds a path to peaceful co-existence.
Palestine is ruled by PNA, which is led by Mahmoud Abbas, and a Hamas-ruled Gaza strip. Abbas wants East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine and commented he always looks forward to seeing it emerge as a peaceful and independent state and urged that India must initiate peace talks with Israel to ensure this. President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas also said that Palestine appreciates India’s role in the Non-Aligned Movement and its growing economic and strategic power. PM Modi was as politically correct as possible thereafter during his speech in Ramallah and expressed his admiration for the people of Palestine for showing courage and tenacity in times of extreme difficulty according to columnist Roy. PM also mentioned the long relationship India has had with Palestine and he also mentioned Yasser Arafat, the first President of the State of Palestine, calling him a ‘great leader’ and a ‘friend of the Indian people’.
The two sides also signed agreements worth $50 million, including $30 million for setting up a super speciality hospital in Beit Sahur and $5 million for construction of a centre for empowering women.Three agreements in the education sector, worth $5 million, and for procurement of equipment and machinery for the National Printing Press in Ramallah were also signed. Modi also announced that the youth exchanges would see an increase from 50 to 100 youths from this year.