Arab states worry over India's lackluster response to Trump's Jerusalem move

The Indian Foreign Ministry's bland statement made no reference to Jerusalem and prompted criticism at home that it was insufficient, vague and anti-Palestinian.

By REUTERS
December 18, 2017 11:19
3 minute read.
Arab states worry over India's lackluster response to Trump's Jerusalem move

A general view of Jerusalem shows the Dome of the Rock, located in Jerusalem's Old City on the compound known to Muslims as Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as Temple Mount December 6, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

A dozen Arab ambassadors have asked India to clarify its position on the US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, diplomatic sources said, after New Delhi's muted response suggested a shift in support for the Palestinian cause.

US President Donald Trump abruptly reversed decades of US policy this month when he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, generating outrage from Palestinians. Trump also plans to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Countries around the world, including US allies Britain and France, criticized Trump's decision, but India did not take sides.

Instead, the Indian foreign ministry in a brief statement, said India's position was consistent and independent of any third party.

The bland statement made no reference to Jerusalem and prompted criticism at home that it was insufficient, vague and anti-Palestinian.

Israel maintains that all of Jerusalem is its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of a future independent state and say Trump's move has left them marginalized and jeopardized any hopes of a two-state solution.

Last week, envoys from Arab states including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Kuwait based in New Delhi met Indian junior foreign minister M.J. Akbar to brief the government about an Arab League meeting on Dec. 9 condemning the US decision, a diplomatic and an Indian government source said.

The envoys also sought a more forthright Indian response, the sources said.

But Akbar gave no assurance and the Indian source said the government had no plans for a further articulation on Jerusalem, which is at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Akbar did not promise anything," the diplomatic source briefed on the meeting said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities.

India was one of the earliest and vocal champions of the Palestinian cause during the days it was leading the Non-Aligned Movement while it quietly pursued ties with Israel.

But under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, New Delhi has moved to a more open relationship with Israel, lifting the curtain on thriving military ties and also homeland security cooperation.

Modi's Hindu nationalist ruling group views Israel and India as bound together in a common fight against Islamist militancy and long called for a public embrace of Israel.
PM Netanyahu and Indian PM Narendra Modi tour Dor Beach on the third day of Modi's visit to Israel‏ (credit: GPO)

Modi in July made a first trip to Israel by an Indian prime minister and did not go to Ramallah, the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority and a customary stop for leaders trying to maintain a balance in political ties.

P.R. Kumaraswamy, a leading Indian expert on ties with Israel at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University, said a "major shift" on India's policy had been evident since early this year when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visited New Delhi.

"With the Palestinian president standing by his side, Prime Minister Modi reiterated India’s support for Palestinian statehood but carefully avoided any direct reference to East Jerusalem," he said.

For decades, India’s support for a Palestinian state was accompanied by an explicit reference to East Jerusalem being the Palestinian capital. But Delhi has moved to a more balanced position, refusing to take sides in an explosive dispute, he said.

During the meeting last week, the ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Somalia and the Palestinian Authority spoke, the diplomatic source said. Besides the dozen envoys there were charges d'affaires from several other countries in the region.

"They were expecting more from India, perhaps to denounce Israel and the US," said former Indian ambassador to Jordan and Anil Trigunayat. "But would it really make a difference, adding one more voice?"

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

TRAIN LINE maintenance taking place on Shabbat led to tense disputes in the Knesset this week.
September 25, 2018
Tel Aviv-J’lem rail operating without security cameras

By EYTAN HALON