Indian PM’s Israel Itinerary Excludes Palestinians

YERUSHALAYIM -
India, Israel, Palestinians
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking last week during a press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron after their meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris. (Reuters/Kamil Zihnioglu/Pool)

When world leaders and diplomats visit Israel, they usually also visit the Palestinian Authority. Not so with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

When Modi arrives in Yerushalayim next month, he will make no side trips to Ramallah.

“This is going to be a purely bilateral visit. He is coming to visit us, and only us,” a senior Israeli official told The Times of Israel on Thursday. “It’s a great achievement for us.”

While details of the three-day visit have yet to be finalized and no official announcement has been made, officials expect Modi to be in Israel for the first time on July 4. The Indian embassy in Tel Aviv confirmed the plans.

The trip represents a landmark in the expanding ties between India and Israel on defense and economic matters. While here, he’ll meet with Israeli leaders, hold a rally for Israelis of Indian descent and visit agricultural and technological sites.

Although India’s voting policy in the U.N. has shifted in favor of Israel, New Delhi has not entirely spurned the Palestinians. Modi won’t be going to see Abbas; but that blow was already softened by hosting Abbas in India. Last month, PA President Mahmoud Abbas spent three days in New Delhi meeting with Modi and other senior officials.

“The relationship between India and Palestine is built on the foundation of longstanding solidarity and friendship since the days of our own freedom struggle,” Modi said at the time.

“India has been unwavering in its support of the Palestinian cause. And we hope to see the realization of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, co-existing peacefully with Israel.”