Balancing Israel and Palestine/Arabs

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s trip covering Palestine, Oman and the UAE.
  • It is going to be a continuation of an orchestrated re-visit of India’s longstanding policies on West Asia.
How is it managed?
  • Modi became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel, breaking a decades-long self-inflicted embargo of Indian foreign policy.
  • Modi also hosted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a balancing act to reaffirm India’s commitments towards the cause of the Palestinians, a historic stance that has stood the test of time and survived multiple governments.
India’s interests and ambitions in West Asia are protected via a web of diplomacy
  • Indian engagement revolves around protecting a demographic base of more than seven million of the country’s citizens working in the region, responsible for sending over $60 billion in remittances every year into the Indian economy
  • It largely steers clear of taking sides in the political and sectarian quagmire that regularly engulfs the region
  • So as India moves towards becoming a larger player in global politics and economics, these pre-existing policies need review, and de-hyphenating Israel and Palestine was due.
So how will this de-hyphenation help?
  • Modi’s visit to Ramallah is important not only to reaffirm his own government’s commitment towards a legacy policy, but also to re-establish to the Palestinians and, perhaps more importantly to the Arab states in the region that India does value the relationship of Arab and Palestine.
  • From an Indian point of view, its policies towards Israel and Palestine are shifting from mere symbolism towards one driven by substantial outcomes for its interests on a global level. 
  • India went against the US in a vote at the UN to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with New Delhi backing its decision by highlighting that its views on the issue are independent and do not coincide with anyone else.
  • On the other side of the spectrum, it also pulled up Ramallah when the Palestinian ambassador to Pakistan was photographed sharing the stage with terrorist Hafiz Saeed, forcing Ramallah to recall their diplomat.
  • Israel realizes this fact that India has to maintain a certain posture regarding Palestine, and the same is accepted by the Palestinians with regard to India’s developing relations with Israel.
Issue Area
  • The political history of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hamas and its military wing the al-Qassam Brigades today would stand at uncomfortable odds with India’s global stance against the idea of distinguishing between good terrorism and bad terrorism, specifically when the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniya, has now made it to the US blacklist of global terrorists.
  • This is despite India seeing “high legitimacy” of an elected Palestinian government, even if led by actors such as Hamas.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top