Ramallah: Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has "accepted and understood" India's recent abstention from voting on Gaza conflict in the UNHCR and hoped that "nothing has changed in Palestine's traditional ties with India", his top aide said on Thursday.
"President Abbas has accepted and understood that India's vote was on technical and not political grounds. Our relations are historical, steady and strong," diplomatic advisor to Abbas, Majdi Khaldi, told PTI.
"We appreciate India's steadfast support for the Palestinian cause and are certain that it will continue and we will not be let down in the future at the UN or any other international forum," he added.
During the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees vote last week, India abstained during voting on a UN report critical of Israel's offensive in Gaza, a position that generated a lot of enthusiasm in Israel and was seen as a "dramatic" and "significant shift" in India's policy.
India has, however, maintained that the vote does not mark any shift in its policy on the Palestinian cause.
Khaldi, a close aide to Abbas, also expressed hopes that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will accept his invitation and visit Palestine later this year.
"We are looking forward to the visit of Foreign Minister (Sushma Swaraj) and Prime Minister Modi later this year. It will go a long way in strengthening our ties," he said.
Secretary (East) at Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Anil Wadhwa, met Abbas late yesterday evening and has also held discussions with several other Palestinian officials and think-tanks since yesterday.
Palestinian officials said that the Indian official presented a "clear and convincing" logic behind India's vote which "helped clarify" the issue.
Wadhwa is said to have told Abbas that India took a "principled stand" in abstaining at the UNHCR vote on Gaza.
Majdi said that the Indian diplomat also clearly conveyed to the Palestinian officials that "there is no change in India's traditional and longstanding support for the Palestinian cause".
"India is a longstanding friend of Palestine and will continue to be on their side in times of need", the Indian official is said to have stated.
Abbas is said to have also expressed his "deep appreciation" for all the help India has extended to the Palestinian people.
India's abstention at the UNHCR vote had generated a lot of interest in Israel with officials in Jerusalem hailing it as a "qualitative" leap in bilateral ties that made it a "normal relation without hangups", despite India's denial regarding any change in policy.
The 50-day Gaza war killed 1,462 civilians, and left 11,231 injured on the Palestinian side. Six Israeli civilians were also killed in the war.