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Harshit Rao asked: How will the growing closeness between India and Israel benefit the cause of Palestine?

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  • S. Samuel C Rajiv replies: India has consistently urged Israel to engage in negotiations with the Palestinians to resolve outstanding issues and work towards the establishment of a Palestinian state, based on mutual recognition and effective security arrangements. As for East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, India has stated that this has to be decided in final status negotiations between two parties. 

    Even as the India-Israel strategic partnership has matured, India has maintained high-level political interactions with the Palestinian leadership. High-level visits that have taken place in recent times to Palestine include those by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2018, which was a historic, standalone visit. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and President Pranab Mukherjee had earlier visited in January 2016 and October 2015, respectively. India also extends consistent support to the goal of the creation of a Palestinian state, in bilateral interactions with key interlocutors like Saudi Arabia and at multilateral forums like the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) grouping, and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).

    India’s developmental support to Palestine, meanwhile, is robust, with annual contribution to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) increased to $5 million in March 2018, from $1.25 million earlier. India is setting up the Institute of Diplomacy in Surda, Ramallah at a cost of $4.5 million and the Palestine India Techno-Park in Ramallah, its largest project at $12 million. Eight development projects worth nearly $60 million are currently being executed. Over 1,000 Palestinians have benefited from participating in the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programmes, 150 slots of which are available to the Palestinians annually.

    Posted on January 25, 2021

    Views expressed are of the expert and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manohar Parrikar IDSA or the Government of India.