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India’s Modi Set to Meet Palestinian Leaders Weeks after Warm, Fuzzy Netanyahu Visit

When India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Israel a short time ago as part of reciprocal trips, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pulled out all of the stops in attempting to paint the relationship between the two leaders and the two nations as a deep personal friendship. Netanyahu then became the first sitting premier to visit India and to underscore the warmth of the friendship, even danced over questions relating to India’s reneging on a huge defense contract, saying friends don’t let things like that get in the way. Perhaps more telling was Netanyahu’s reluctance to be critical of Modi as he was with the leaders of other nations that failed to back the Trump administration’s position when the United Nations General Assembly voted for an anti-Israel resolution condemning President Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem is the Israeli capital. On Monday, Modi will return to the region, but his host for a brief portion at the start of his trip will be Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who will fete him at a banquet as part of a trip announced while Netanyahu was in India so as not to offend the Palestinians. The Modi trip is being termed “historic” because it is the first time an Indian prime minister has traveled to the Palestinian territories. Because Modi is a longtime supporter of the Palestinian quest for statehood and his visit comes as Abbas is aggressively pressing his case and seeking alternatives to the traditional role in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks the United States plays, his visit to Ramallah will be closely watched in Jerusalem.