Modi's proposed visit to Israel, the first such visit by an Indian Prime Minister, symbolises his administration's desire to draw closer to Israel, or what Daniel Carmon, the Israeli Ambassador calls, “tightening relationship between Israel and India”. Though Sushma Swaraj, the External Affairs Minister has “clarified” that there will be no change in India's policies towards Palestine, we all know that this is hogwash.

We are not dealing between two states — Israel and Palestine — which are in dispute. We are talking of a colonial occupation in which Palestine is occupied and Israel is the occupier; we are talking of Jewish settlers continuously taking over the land of the occupied Palestinians in violation of international law; we are talking of Settler Colonialism and an apartheid state, the last one of its kind in the world. Reverend Desmond Tutu, the Nobel prize winner, and one of the major figures in South Africa's anti-apartheid struggle, calls Israeli apartheid as worse than that of South Africa. That is why there is a worldwide call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against the apartheid Israeli state.

Modi's visit to strengthen relations, particularly military ties and arms imports, will in turn strengthen Israel and its occupation. Israel's arms industry is its biggest industry, underpinning its national economy. India is already Israel's biggest arms buyer, buying more arms from its arms industry than even the Israeli armed forces, in effect underwriting its occupation of Palestine. Its attempts to foster closer military and security ties with Israel is in the face of growing international calls for the boycott of Israel. Even close “friends” of Israel such as France and England have declined to participate in the seventh annual Israel Defense expo that has just opened in Tel Aviv.

Israel not only occupies Palestinian lands, it is also the only country in the world, which has yet to declare its borders. It has defied world opinion and disregarded UN Security Council resolutions that it should go back to its 1967 borders. It is continuously taking over more and more occupied West Bank land for illegal Jewish settlements. It has converted Gaza to the biggest open air prison in the world and periodically bombs its people, with Israeli military figures speaking chillingly about “mowing the lawn” in Gaza. It has imposed brutal apartheid policies in occupied Palestinian lands, sparing not even football and footballers. As the recent FIFA debate showed, Palestinian footballers are routinely arrested, not allowed to travel, humiliated at border crossings and check posts. The worst example of such egregious violence was shooting two young Palestinian footballers, Jawhar Nasser (19), and Adam al-Raouf Halabiya (17), at a check-point. Ten bullets were pumped into Jawhar’s feet, while Adam took one bullet in each foot.

This article has appeared in the Newsclick.

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