The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, has now become the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel, and he won’t be meeting with Palestinian leaders, causing upset among them.
The Coordinator of the National and Islamic Forces, Essam Abu Baker stated that “we in the Palestinian revolution and the PLO are keen on building special ties with India….this apparent shift in India’s position is huge and dangerous. We call on the Indian government to revise its policies.” Palestinian Deputy Foreign Minister Tasir Jaradat said that Modi should have visited both states “to spread the message of peace.” Modi, in fact, did signal a message of peace by “snubbing” the jihadist-ruled region, in which every major organization is governed by charters that declare their determination to obliterate the Zionist state of Israel.
According to Haaretz, “Ben-Gurion himself made personal contact not only with central Indian political figures to seek their support, but even convinced Albert Einstein, a reluctant Zionist, to write to Jawaharlal Nehru, soon to be India’s first prime minister, in the summer of 1947 to push for a sympathetic hearing for Zionism.” Yet since then, India’s relationship with Israel has been elusive.
Modi’s visit has now shifted the tide. India and Israel have pledged to combat terrorism, and this so-called “snub” of Palestinian leaders by Modi represents an honest first step. Modi and Netanyahu “referred to the suffering of both countries from terror.”
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu have signed agreements, including on agriculture and space.
The two leaders, who made a joint statement in Jerusalem, also referred to the “suffering” of both countries from terror.
Mr Modi said they would work together to combat growing radicalisation and terrorism, including in cyberspace.
He is the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel.
The visit is seen by some as a turning point in India’s position on Israel. The two countries established diplomatic relations only 25 years ago.
Observers note he will not travel to Ramallah or meet Palestinian leaders, as visiting dignitaries often do.
Both leaders made several references to terrorism, and talked about the “challenge” of dealing with forces that sought to undermine their countries, as well as “strategic threats to regional peace and stability”.
Mr Modi also met an Israeli boy, Moshe Holtzberg, whose parents were killed when gunmen stormed a Jewish centre in Mumbai during a 2008 terror attack.
Moshe Holtzberg was saved by his Indian nanny, Sandra Samuel, who was treated as a heroine in Israel where she settled with the boy after the attack.
Six Jewish people were killed at the centre, which was one of several places targeted in the attacks.
Apart from bilateral deals, Mr Netanyahu said that the two countries had recognised their roles in contributing to global stability, and had agreed to also fund development work in African countries.
Later on Wednesday Mr Modi was to address a gathering of Jewish people of Indian origin living in Israel and would be joined by Mr Netanyahu.