Will India mediate between Israel-PA talks?

PA officials believe that good relations between India and both Israel and the PA can enable it to act as a mediator.

Arutz Sheva North America Staff ,

Netanyahu and Modi
Netanyahu and Modi
Avi Ohayon/GPO

A senior official in the Palestinian Authority (PA) is calling on India to replace the United States as a broker in the peace talks between Israel and the PA.

Arutz Sheva learned on Friday that the PA was impressed by the recent visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Ramallah, and the affection he lavished on PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Abbas, of course, has ruled out U.S. mediation in the peace process, claiming it is no longer an “honest broker” due to President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

In recent consultations with Abbas, the idea came up of turning to the Indians and asking them to act as mediators, because they have good relations with both Abbas as well as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who visited India earlier this year and was warmly received by Modi.

Modi last July became the first Indian prime minister to visit Israel and his visit to Ramallah a few weeks ago was also the first time that an Indian prime minister visited the Palestinian Authority. Israel, too, has been paying attention to India's clear policy in the Middle East aimed to allow itself to be a significant player in this field.

The Palestinian Arabs are reportedly looking for a new serious international element that will take over the negotiations. As they know that UN or EU mediation will likely not be well received by Israel, the idea of involving India appeals to them. A senior PA official said that preliminary moves have already been made, and that the U.S. may work together with India in such a situation.

Israel is still not speaking publicly about such an idea, which could be acceptable to the Americans if it brings the PA back to the negotiating table. However, the political establishment in Israel believes that the Americans will seek to be the ones determining the policy in the negotiations and will seek to be assisted by India as a party acceptable to both sides.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)