Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Palestine president Abbas in India ahead of Modi Israel trip

Palestine president Abbas in India ahead of Modi Israel trip

Trump himself cast uncertainty over years of global efforts to foster a two-state solution when he met Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the White House in February.

The two countries today inked five Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), including visa exemption on diplomatic and official passports, on cooperation in youth affairs and sports, on agricultural cooperation, on cooperation in health sector, and on cooperation in information-technology and electronics.

Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Israel in July, Abbas said India should continue to play the important role that it has been playing to bring peace in the Middle East.

Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) secretary general Saeb Erekat called Monday for Israel to recognize the "Nakba" and apologize in the interests of "achieving just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine".

"India and Palestine enjoy historically close and friendly ties", it said in a statement late Saturday, reiterating India's "political support to the Palestinian cause". Abbas will on Tuesday be formally welcomed at the presidential palace before meeting Modi, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Also on Monday, thousands of Palestinians marched through Ramallah carrying Palestinian flags and waving keys to symbolize their former homes in Israel before 1948.

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Annual marches are held on May 15 to mark what Palestinians call the "Nakba", or catastrophe in Arabic.

The PA chief said that the oppression of the Palestinians started 100 years ago, when the "fake Zionist narrative, which denied our existence on our land, began".

For the first time in contemporary South African history a number of South African cabinet ministers on Sunday night chose to go on hunger strike to show solidarity with Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, South Africa's Independent Media reported.

Many South Africans are participating in campaigns to support Palestinian hunger strikers by initiating the #DignityStrikeSA hashtag on social media. This is his fifth visit to India and his third state visit; his previous state visits were in 2008 and 2012.

He has also met his German and Russian counterparts, Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Vladimir Putin, and discussed the Palestine-Israel situation with them as well. Even though Trump will be the first sitting president to go to the Western Wall, the White House said it would be in the framework of "a private visit".

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