India’s position on Palestine ‘independent and consistent’, says Ministry

Nayanima Basu New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on December 07, 2017

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi with the Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem, Israel on July 05, 2017.   -  PIB

US’ move to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is likely to generate heat

India on Thursday said its position on Palestine is “independent and consistent” even as New Delhi is geared up to welcome Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his four-day visit to India next month.

“India's position on Palestine is independent and consistent. It is shaped by our views and interests, and not determined by any third country,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement here on Thursday following US’ announcement of shifting of its Consulate to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

New Delhi reacted after US President Donald Trump announced that the US will recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as he directed the State Department to initiate the process of relocating their Embassy there.

The Modi government publicly denounced Trump’s controversial move. But, a BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said in a tweet, “Israel has international recognition of a part of Jerusalem as its territory, hence India should shift its Embassy to this part of the city.”

Also with the upcoming visit of Netanyahu, Israel might pressurise India to take a similar step. But, historically, India has always supported a two-state solution recognising Palestine as a separate state.

“India should not get itself involved in the imbroglio as the two-state solution is one of the founding pillars of India’s foreign policy. Jerusalem is a disputed area and the final status will be determined by the Peace Agreement. The US government took this extreme step because it has come under heavy pressure from the Jewish lobby there,” former Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Oman and UAE Talmiz Ahmad told BusinessLine.

Ahmad, now Adviser (West Asia & North Africa), Ananta Centre, also said the move to relocate its Embassy to Jerusalem has been under discussion with successive US governments. The issue gained momentum first under President Bill Clinton and then President George Bush, both of whom had made it a focal point in their respective election campaigns but refused to implement it after assuming office recognising the fact that this will only isolate US.

Meanwhile, welcoming the US move, Israel Ambassador to India Daniel Carmon has said, “Jerusalem has been throughout in history the centre of the Jewish faith and sovereignty, has been and will continue to be the capital of modern Israel.”

The European Union has already made it clear that any such move that threatens to disrupt the peace process and eventually conclusion of the ‘Peace Agreement’ must be “absolutely avoided.”

It needs to be noted here that during the visit to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas here in May, Prime Minister Modi had made it clear that India will support both Israel and Palestine find a comprehensive solution under the ongoing peace process.

“Netanyahu may raise the issue with India during his visit here. But the two-state solution forms the basis of our foreign policy in West Asia. This has happened because the Palestinian movement has also become divided over the years. Except US, nobody else will follow this extreme step,” said S Samuel C Rajiv, Associate Fellow, IDSA.

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Published on December 07, 2017
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