In a year which marks the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Israel, Narendra Modi reached Tel Aviv on Monday highlighting the first ever visit by an Indian Prime Minister to the Jewish country.
When Israel occupied Palestine through an invasion which cannot be justified ethically or humanitarian wise, Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru had pointed out the denial of justice in the process. But, when the United Nations recognised the Jewish nation with the backing of the world powers, India too was among the countries that voted in its favour. However, India had extended support for the rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees who were forcefully driven away from their homeland after Israel came into existence and also backed their relentless battle to return to their country. India had approved of Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) led by Yasser Arafat and had allowed to open an embassy in New Delhi. Whenever Arafat paid a visit to the capital, he was given a warm reception as well.
After Israel seized the whole of Jerusalem including the western coast of Jordan River and Gaza from Egypt during the 1967 war, India had backed the UN resolutions to withdraw from the occupied territories. Even as India moves ahead with this approach that adheres to peace and justice on one side, Centre’s policy was to establish a relation with Israel at the consulate level and to covertly adopt measures to strengthen the cooperation with the Jewish nation in areas like agriculture, education, and cultural sector later on. BJP on the other hand has been demanding to establish diplomatic ties with Israel right from the start and to extend the cooperation in all areas. BJP MPs also regularly paid visits to the Zionist nation. It was in 1992 when Narasimha Rao- who despite being a Congressman had a leaning towards the extreme right-wing- was the Prime Minister, that BJP’s demand was approved. It was after the move that the India-Israel ties deepened extending even to areas including the military field and Israel turned into one of the largest exporters of advanced weaponries to India. Every year India imports armaments worth Rs 6,500 crore from Israel. Modi intends to significantly increase this limit through his visit. When Modi and Netanyahu say that both the nations would join hands to fight terrorism, it’s clear whom they are targeting.
Arab neighbouring countries and Muslim nations are Israel’s main foes. Although the Zionist nation had approved the idea of Palestinian state in an extremely limited region through the Oslo Accords, it has not so far realised the concept within a reasonable time frame. Instead Israel has been attempting to harass and torture the Palestinians crammed in Gaza and West Bank and to displace them as hapless refugees. Hamas, the Palestine resistance movement, realising this clandestine goal and hitting back in all possible ways is the ‘terrorism’ faced by Israel. With certain Arab countries including military regime of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s Egypt backing Israel’s cruelty that is neither humane nor just, Indian Prime Minister Modi joining the force isn’t surprising. In their recent policy document, Hamas had recognised the geographical identity of Israel and decided not to lock horns with the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Therefore retaining Hamas in the list of terrorist organisations couldn’t be justified. The world however, is currently witnessing Trump’s America and Modi government turning a blind eye towards the happenings around them and joining hands with the real terrorist nation.
Modi before leaving for Israel had stated that India believed in a two-state solution and desired a peaceful resolving of the issue. However, India haven’t initiated any appropriate diplomatic moves. Also, Modi is not visiting Ramallah, the headquarters of Palestine Authority, as well. At a time when even the prominent Arab countries side with the furtive moves to lay to rest the Palestinian issue forever by turning the remaining Arabs in Palestine into second-class citizens of Israel, one wonders whom Modi, a right-wing hardliner and the government he leads, needs to fear in order to soften the stand. Anything said about India-Israel ties will be meaningful only if virtues such as truth, duty, justice and humanity are at the least considered in internal politics and in foreign relations.