India is our friend, they could play greater role for Palestinian cause: Envoy
Palestinian envoy Adnan Abu Alhaijaa said his president, during a visit to New Delhi, was assured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India’s unwavering support for the Palestinian cause.india Updated: Jul 26, 2017 21:20 IST
Palestine on Wednesday sought “greater role” by India for its cause, even as it asserted that it was not worried over the growing Indo-Israel ties.
During an interaction with reporters here, Palestinian envoy Adnan Abu Alhaijaa said his president, during a visit to New Delhi, was assured by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India’s unwavering support for the Palestinian cause.
To a question about Palestine’s expectations from India, he said, “What we are expecting is the government to continue to have a positive attitude for the Palestinian cause. And about the relationship between this government and Israel, I can say it could interfere in the situation.”
However, when asked to elaborate as to what he meant by “interference”, the envoy only said, “We expect India to always have a positive attitude.”
“India has been an old friend of Palestine and supported our cause and people for long. We have a good relation.
“Our President Mahmoud Abbas visited India and met PM Modi before his (Modi’s) Israel visit. And, that is what we take as the official attitude of India towards Palestine,” he said, adding Palestine is not concerned about what was reported by Israeli media.
Responding to a question on Modi’s recent visit and the growing ties between India and Israel, Alhaijaa said Palestine was “not worried” about it.
“Media of Israel blew up the situation about Modi’s visit. We are not worried about the growing ties between India and Israel as long as its (New Delhi’s) attitude towards Palestine remains unchanged,” he said.
However, the envoy added, India is a great country, and it could play a “greater role” towards supporting the Palestinian cause.
Asked, if Palestine wanted India to play the role of an interlocutor to resolve its conflict with Israel, Alhaijaa did not give a direct answer and only said, we expect India to continue to play a “positive role”.
Modi visited Israel from July 4-6, the first by an Indian Prime Minister to that country. However, he did not visit Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, as is common for many visiting foreign dignitaries.
In an interview on July 4, Modi had said, India believes in a two-state solution in which both Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist peacefully, adding he supported all efforts to find an acceptable solution to all the pending issues, including Jerusalem.
The Palestinian envoy on Wednesday addressed the mediapersons about the situation in East Jerusalem and the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, and said he was addressing in a state of “extreme duress”.
“The issue at hand is the Israeli plan of Judaisation of East Jerusalem in general and Al Aqsa Mosque in particular... The latest conflagration has happened because of additional physical hindrances put up by Israel at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, including electronic gates, metal detectors, cameras and barriers,” he said.
Alhaijaa said despite “UNESCO declaring the mosque to be uniquely Muslim” the Israeli side have tried to impose their sovereignty over it and Jerusalem.
“We reject this imposition and we reject any desecration of Islamic and Christian religious sites,” the envoy said.
He said, “Attempt towards Judaisation of Al Aqsa will be dealt with resistance.”
Asked what he meant by “resistance”, Alhaijaa said, “It means demonstration and reaching out to the international community and friends to exert pressure on Israel.”
Referring to the conflict, he asserted that only sticking to norms can undo the “cycle of violence” and “attempts by Israel’s extreme right-wing to mobilise support to change the status quo in the city would drag the region into more violence.”
The status quo should be returned to what was before July 14, he said.
Two Israeli police officers and three Palestinian attackers were killed during an attack on July 14 in Jerusalem.