In Pranab's visit, Palestine sees reassurance of India's support

In Pranab's visit, Palestine sees reassurance of India's support

Palestine views President Pranab Mukherjee’s upcoming visit to Ramallah this month as a reaffirmation of India’s continuing support to its people’s struggle, notwithstanding New Delhi’s growing bonhomie with Israel.

“This is going to be the maiden visit by a India’s Head of State to Palestine and we take it as a mark of long-standing support of government and people of India to our struggle for independence,” Adnan Abu Alhaijaa, Palestine’s envoy to India, told Deccan Herald in an interview in New Delhi.

Mukherjee is set to visit Palestine on October 12 before travelling to Israel. Both visits are going to be firsts by a president of India. They are likely to be followed by another set of firsts a few months later when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also visit both Palestine and Israel.

“President Mahmoud Abbas and the people of Palestine are keenly waiting to receive the president of India,” said Alhaijaa. “Every Palestinian grew up knowing India as a friend of Palestine and a steadfast supporter to our struggle for independence. The visit by president will once again underline that it remains so.”

India was the first non-Arab nation to recognise Palestine Liberation Organisation as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people in 1974. India was also one of the first countries to recognise the state of Palestine in 1988.

New Delhi’s growing ties with Israel over the past few years, however, fuelled speculation about an imminent change in India’s long-standing policy of supporting the cause of Palestine. New Delhi’s unusual decision to abstain from voting on an anti-Israel resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) in July was seen by many as a sign of change in India’s long-standing policy of supporting the cause of Palestine.


New Delhi, however, explained to Palestine that it had to abstain from voting on the UNHRC resolution as it had called for a preliminary examination by the International Criminal Court (ICC) into alleged war crimes committed by armed forces of Israel during Operation Protective Edge in Gaza and West Bank. India is not a signatory to the Rome Statute which established the ICC.

“We understood why India had to abstain from voting on the anti-Israel resolution in the UNHRC. We hold no grudge against India,” said Alhaija.

 

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