Amidst spiralling violence in the region, India and Palestine on Monday called for a negotiated and peaceful settlement of the Israel-Palestinian conflict based on internationally agreed upon principles which would lead to a united and viable state of Palestine. Continuing violence between Israeli forces and Palestinians, which has led to hundreds of casualties in the recent weeks, figured prominently in the discussions between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and President Pranab Mukherjee, who arrived here today on an overnight visit, the first by an Indian Head of State to Palestine. Mukherjee conveyed India's full support for the Palestinian cause and its commitment to a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine with east Jerusalem as its capital.
India desires to see Palestine living side by side at peace with Israel. Abbas told the Indian leader that Palestinians were doing their best to contain the violence. Palestine wanted friendly relations, not hostilities, with Israel, he said. The Palestinian leader also said that Palestine was following the principles of Mahatma Gandhi. "We are peaceseekers in the footsteps of Gandhiji, the eternal leader who achieved freedom for his country by speaking and practising peace", he affirmed.
Terrorism, with specific reference to ISIS and al-Qaeda, also came up for discussion during which Abbas told Mukherjee that Palestine did not want such organisations to come into its territory. Israel should look for a peaceful and negotiated settlement to prevent them from coming in. India, which has been helping Palestine in its capacity building, gave a cheque for USD 5 million as budgetary support to the Palestinian Authority (PA). It also committed USD 17.79 million for five projects in the Palestinian territory, including a technology park at Ramallah which will cost USD 12 million.
On arrival from Jordan, Mukherjee began his public engagements here by laying a wreath on the mausoleum of the legendary Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Thereafter Abbas and Mukherjee named a street as shari-e-al-hind (India Road) and inaugurated midan-e-al-hind, the India roundabout.
Before leaving for Israel tomorrow, Mukherjee will gift 30 computers to an Information Technology centre at al-Quds university here tomorrow morning. The computers will not carry sophisticated communication systems because of Israel's refusal to permit such equipments on grounds of security. The communication equipment will be sent back to India and will be replaced by equipment with different frequencies acceptable to Israelis.