Relations with Israel: Interesting suggestions start pouring in for Pakistani govt

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LAHORE: At a juncture when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu might undertake a short trip to India this month before Indian premier Narendra Modi flies to New York for the United Nations General Assembly meeting, some “intriguing suggestions” have suddenly cropped up on the social media network in Pakistan for the incumbent Imran Khan-led regime to revisit the national foreign policy and establish some sort of a relationship with Jerusalem.
In its September 1, 2019 edition, the “Haaretz”, a 101-year old Tel Aviv-based Israeli newspaper, had stated: “Prime Minister Imran Khan and his military backers are giving unprecedented freedom to a highly-censored media to talk about establishing relations with Israel, 14 years to the day since the countries’ only public bilateral meeting, are conditions now ripe for a formal move?”

With an average daily circulation of 72,00, this longest-running Israeli newspaper has even quoted an August 26, 2019 tweet coming from a veteran Pakistan journalist and television host, who is deemed to be fairly aware of the Pakistani Establishment’s policies and working. The Pakistani journalist’s tweet reads:

“High time Pakistan counters nefarious Indian designs with bold foreign policy moves. Our deepest friends are making fresh alignments. No permanent friends no enemies. Why can’t we openly debate pros and cons of opening direct and overt channels of communication with the State of Israel?” By the way, the ace Pakistani newsman had expressed his views in Urdu in another tweet on the same day. English translation of his Urdu tweet:

“For the last 40 years, Israel has been wishing to establish diplomatic ties with Pakistan, or at least develop a relationship similar to what it has with various Muslim nations. We have always brushed aside such proposals so that our fellow Muslim countries do not feel ill about it. But, many of these Muslim nations are now nourishing friendly ties with Israel, and have even embraced Narendra Modi, a staunch enemy of Pakistan. Time is thus ripe for Pakistan to take prompt decisions in its own larger national interest”.

A few years ago, Pakistan was among the 31 United Nations member states that do not recognise or do not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel. These included: Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Niger and Pakistan; and Bhutan, Cuba and North Korea. But now this situation has changed drastically as various countries have resumed relations or talks with Israel.

For example, Israel’s relations with Saudi Arabia, as well as ties with other Gulf states, have marked an unprecedented shift as the focus of Arab countries has visibly switched from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to dealing with the Iranian threat.

Saudi Arabia also contributed to the “Yom Kippur War” in 1973, airlifting around 2,000 troops to assist Arab forces in Syria. When Egypt signed a peace treaty with the Israelis, Saudi Arabia and other Arab States expressed their disapproval by cutting aid and diplomatic ties with Egypt too. After almost a decade, Saudi Arabia had rebuilt those broken ties.