India will support Palestine cause, engage with Israel: Mukherjee

Amman, Oct 11 (IANS) India will continue to support separate statehood for Palestine while also engaging with Israel to forge an independent and long-standing bilateral relationship, President Pranab Mukherjee said here on Sunday.

Continuing his meetings with the Jordanian leadership on the second day of his visit here, Mukherjee was candid in saying India’s relations with Palestine and Israel can’t be clubbed, while emphasising that this also does not also does not mean the support for a separate statehood stood diluted.

The matter came up during the visiting president’s engagements with Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour and his deputy and Foreign Minister Nasseer S.Judeh — who also respected India’s position on this subject.

Jordan is the only country in the Arab world, besides Egypt, which has a peace agreement with Israel.

Briefing the media delegation accompanying the president on the six-day, three-nation visit which will take him to Palestine and Israel next, India’s Secretary, East, Anil Wadha said New Delhi also stressed during the meetings that it firmly believed in the UN Nations Security Council resolutions on the subject.

According to Wadhwa, the Jordanian leadership was also told that a united state of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, was much possible through a negotiated solution.

The Jordanian side equally candid said they saw Israel resorting to “state terrorism” against the people of Palestine, as clashes between the two sides continued unabated. This was also the text of a resolution that was passed by the Jordanian Parliament on Saturday, accusing Israelis of “sapping the rights” of Palestinians.

According to reports reaching here, violence has now spread to the Gaza Strip after days of unrest and some deadly clashes in the West Bank. In the last 10 days, some 20 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed, according to official medical reports.

The issue flared up after after Palestinians protested permission to Jewish groups to enter the al-Aqsa mosque compound in east Jerusalem, which is he third most sacred place of worship for Muslims.

(Arvind Padmanabhan, executive editor with IANS, is part of the accompanying media delegation with President Pranab Mukherjee. He can be reached at arvind.p@ians.in)

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