The reported remarks of the Israeli Prime Minister on the possible reasons for Prime Minister Narendra Modi skipping to visit Palestine on his recent visit to the Jewish state were raised in the Rajya Sabha by the Congress on Monday.
Raising the issue, Congress member Anand Sharma, who gave a notice under rule 267 seeking suspension of listed business of the day to discuss the subject, said it was the Prime Minister’s prerogative to visit any country and he had delinked his visit to Israel with Palestine.
Modi visited Israel from July 4 to 6 but skipped Palestine, departing from the convention of Indian leaders visiting both countries on the same trip.
Sharma said an audio released by a reputed Israeli newspaper stated that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a close-door session with leaders from Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, had told them that Modi chose the Jewish state to get technology and water and, in the process ignored Palestine.
In the conversation relayed on a ‘hot-mic’, Netanyahu told the European leaders in Budapest that Modi told him that he needed water for his people which he cannot get from Ramallah, he said.
India, the Congress leader said, has always stood in solidarity Palestine.
As Deputy Chairman P J Kurien disallowed the notice, Sharma said the comments made by the Prime Minister in private conversation involves “dignity of office”.
A K Anthony (Cong) said this has far-reaching implications. “It is not a small issue.”
As the Congress members sought a response from the government, Kurien said he was not blocking the government from responding but at the same time he cannot direct them to do so. “It is up to government whether to respond or not,” he said.