'India's improved ties with Israel could benefit Palestine'

Ramallah (West Bank), Feb 10: India's improved relations with Israel could actually benefit Palestine, experts said here, underlining that the Palestinian leadership sees an opportunity in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit in reviving the peace process with Israel. 

Modi, the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Palestine, is reaching Ramallah amid heightened tensions in the region after US President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 

India has consistently voted in favour of resolutions supporting the Palestinian cause at international forums, an issue that has bothered strategic partner Israel.

Ahmad Majdalani, a Palestine Liberation Organisation Executive Committee member, said improved relations between Israel and India could help the Palestinians. 

"The growing ties between them could be positive, because now India has more leverage with Israel and can pressure it in our favour," Majdalani was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post. 

In discussions with several officials in Ramallah, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, it appears that the Palestinian leadership sees in the Indian prime minister's visit an opportunity to seek his assistance in pushing forward the deadlocked peace process.

"India today enjoys wider acceptance in the global community. The recent participation of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) leaders in its Republic Day function is a clear demonstration of its enhanced status. Its membership in the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and visibility at several leading international forums, clearly shows that it is today a global  player", an official said.

PTI