Gaza: Continuing violence in Israel and Palestine territories has curtailed President Pranab Mukherjee’s plans to visit some of the historic places like the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. However, Mukherjee, who arrived in Amman Saturday on a six-day visit to the region, is however believed to have rebuked Israeli concerns by staying firm on his visit to the contentious Al Quds University.
The university is caught in current clashes, going on since September after Israel banned the Al Aqsa mosque – the third holiest site of Islam located in the compound of Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif site also revered by Jews – for Palestinians following confrontations with Jewish visitors.
While Israel considers the university, built by Palestinians, a source of promoting Islamic Jihad and vilifying the Jewish state, India has always been a leading partner in educational support and cooperation to Palestine.
Israeli security forces also halted a consignment of 30 computers at Haifa Shipping Port on October 6, which were to make way to the Information Technology centre to be set up at the Al Quds varsity and inaugurated by Mukherjee. Indian diplomats are in hectic negotiations with their Israeli counterparts to release the consignment ahead of the President’s visit.
Ohad Horsandi, spokesperson with embassy of Israel in India said, “the consignment is with the Israeli customs and the procedure is taking time. Israel has no interest in stopping this. We are trying our best to expedite the process.”
The President, who will be conferred an honorary doctorate at the Al Quds varsity, will be accompanied by vice-chancellors and heads of Jamia Milia University and Jawaharlal Nehru University.
“This is a symbolic move and a positive gesture by the President, in solidarity with Palestinians. Israel discriminates not just Al Quds varsity but all Palestinian institutions and calls the students terrorists. It shows India’s commitment and concern for the Palestine cause and development,” said author and journalist Dr Zafrul Islam Khan.