TEL AVIV – The Palestinian Authority expressed surprise and disappointment at Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s failure to include Ramallah as a stop during his three-day trip to Israel.
“We expected [Modi] to visit both Israel and Palestine,” Palestinian Deputy Foreign Minister Tasir Jaradat told the Qatari-based network Al Jazeera. “To play an important role between the two sides and to be able to spread the message of peace, one should visit both.”
“The PA is talking in terms of surprise, rather than outright criticism, that Narendra Modi has decided not to make time for its president in the course of a three-day visit,” Jerusalem-based Al Jazeera correspondent Harry Fawcett reported.
In May, Modi met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas in New Delhi. The Indian prime minister expressed his wish to “see the realization of a sovereign, independent, united and viable Palestine, coexisting peacefully with Israel.”
The Algemeiner cited Indian analysts as saying that Modi maintains a “de-linking” policy towards its relations with both sides, in that he will engage in bilateral cooperation with both Israel and the Palestinians while treating them as separate entities.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday told his Indian counterpart that he was “deeply moved” by the fact that Modi was the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel.
“What a great day, the first day of a historic journey – your visit, my friend, Prime Minister Modi, to Israel. You are making history. We are making history together,” Netanyahu told Modi.
“I have a feeling that today, India and Israel are changing our world and maybe changing parts of the world. Because this is a cooperation, it’s a marriage really made in Heaven but we’re implementing it here on Earth,” he added.
India established formal diplomatic ties with Israel in 1992.