The members of an Indian delegation who were allegedly not let into Palestinian territories by Israeli authorities have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, claiming that the “government’s appeasement of Israel has only augmented Israeli arrogance, high-handedness and discourtesy in dealing with Indian citizens holding valid passports and valid visas to visit Palestinian National Territory”.
Human rights activists Agnivesh and John Dayal and politicians Mani Shankar Aiyar and Mohammad Salim were among those who signed the letter.
The 13-member delegation was scheduled to attend an international conference on Jerusalem in Ramallah, Al Jazeera reported on April 12. Israel also reportedly barred the entry of a mufti from Sri Lanka, a Bosnian Muslim scholar, the head of Australia’s Islamic Council and a Ghanian MP.
Security forces reportedly stopped the delegation at a check post on the Israeli side of the King Hussein bridge, which connects the country to Jordan. They reportedly allowed only two members of the delegation to enter the country as they were carrying diplomatic passports, and that too after intervention of the Indian Mission in Tel Aviv and the Office of the Indian Representative in Ramallah. The others were humiliated and refused entry despite possessing valid travel documents, the delegates claimed in their letter. They also accused the Israeli Army personnel of behaving rudely with them.
This, the signatories to the letter alleged, exposed the Centre’s claims about Israel’s feeling of goodwill towards Indians and the assertion that it stands up for Palestinians.
“What is urgently called for is immediate corrective action,” the delegates said. “We, the members of the Indian delegation, call upon the government of India to agitate this ill-treatment of Indian citizens with the Israeli authorities and ensure reciprocal discourtesy to Israeli citizens visiting India if the Israelis will not apologise and mend their ways.”