Is Pakistan Preparing to Recognize Israel?, (it’s a complicated relationship…), by Kunwar Khuldune Shahid (Ha’aretz via Daily Alert))
- Sept. 3, 2019
- Is Pakistan Preparing to Recognize Israel? – Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
The once-taboo subject of Pakistan probing potential relations with Israel is now entering mainstream discourse. The subject has been trending on Pakistani Twitter, and commentators have queried whether Imran Khan’s government itself is encouraging this debate – perhaps as a trial balloon.
In 1948, Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, sent a telegram to the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in a bid to establish diplomatic relations. There was no reply. The Pakistan Air Force was covertly involved in the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973.
In the 1980s, while Pakistanis were volunteering in significant numbers to join the PLO during the siege of Beirut in 1982, the Pakistani spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, was working in tandem with the Mossad in CIA-led operations in Afghanistan.
On Sep. 1, 2005, Pakistani and Israeli foreign ministers held their first ever publically acknowledged meeting in Ankara. Military dictator General Pervez Musharraf set the ground for that meeting after opening the debate on relations with Israel in Paris in 2003. Since then, he has continued to urge Pakistan to establish relations with Israel, as recently as this year.
One element that has prompted the recent discussion of diplomatic ties with Israel in certain quarters is the Arab world’s refusal to openly back Pakistan’s position on Kashmir. The argument – voiced by a significant minority – goes: if the Arab states are actually enhancing their relations with India despite its violations in Kashmir, what possible obligation does Pakistan have to not even acknowledge Israel? If Gulf Arab states are cosying up to Israel, why should Pakistan, alone, keep waving the boycott flag? The writer is a Pakistan-based journalist. (Ha’aretz)