Israel and Pakistan

The Head Heeb reminds me of the recent signals that Pakistan might establish relations with Israel. Pakistan President General Musharraf hinted about recognizing Israel in an interview to GeoTV.

He said in view of the changing international scenario Pakistan has to consider whether its Israel policy needs review or not.

He said this issue be taken up seriously and not on emotional grounds. President Musharraf said Islamabad would also consult Islamic countries with regard to any relations with Israel.

Here’s Musharraf’s quote from the interview:

“If the peace process is going forward and they are moving towards peace then we should think whether we will keep our stance against Israel or not,” he told the private Geo-TV news channel. “We need a national consensus on it.

“We have no reason to become more Palestinian than the Palestinians or more Catholic than the Pope.”

I think it is actually a good idea for Pakistan to recognize Israel. It means I can also visit Israel. (Currently, my Pakistani passport says “Valid for all countries except Israel.”) I heard about this first from Zachary Latif about a month ago but forgot about it.

The religious alliance (MMA) leaders immediately opposed the idea.

Jamaat-e-Islami Ameer and MMA parliamentary leader Qazi Hussain Ahmad has warned that acknowledging Israel would become final nail in the coffin of President Musharraf’s rule.

In a statement Tuesday, he said those talking of acknowledging Israel should learn from what Yasser Arafat got out of it. He said Pakistani rulers were oblivious of the espionage and sabotage activities by Israeli secret service Mossad in those countries which had acknowledged Israel, that was why they were ready to do that only to get the ‘US pat on the back’ and to get its support for their illegal rule.

He said Jerusalem was not just Arabs’ issue but directly linked to the faith of every Muslim because it was the first ‘Qibla’ and the place from where Holy Prophet (PBUH) went to Mairaj. Presenting Palestine as a sole Arab issue was a heinous conspiracy of the imperialists and colonists, aimed at disintegrating the Muslims and shattering the concept of unity of Muslims. He said for the same reason the colonist forces were trying to portray every Muslim issue as regional or bilateral.

He also warned that no Arab ruler or army had the right to amend the concept of Jerusalem land which was declared as Islamic trust by the second caliph Hazrat Umar (RA).

Here are some other statements by leaders of the religious alliance MMA.

“Whoever supports Israel supports tyranny and supports millions of Palestinians not coming back to their homes,” said Munnawar Hasan, secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, one of the parties making up the Islamic bloc in parliament.

“President Musharraf is following the agenda of Jews and Americans. The agenda he (Musharraf) is following is anti-Pakistani, anti-people and anti-Islam.”

“If the Musharraf government makes any attempt to recognise Israel then the whole Pakistani nation will throw Musharraf’s government out of power.”

Other opposition parties are also against recognizing Israel.

Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) senior leader, Raja Zafar ul Haq has warned that if the rulers recognize Israel, the reaction will be very strong in Pakistan .

“General Musharraf did not show resistance on any issue till today, but reaction will be very strong in Pakistan if Israel is recognized. The people hold strong sentiments about Israel’s attitude towards Al-Quds and Israeli atrocities in Palestine,” he said in an interview with Radio Tehran.

Some of the federal ministers have issued statements “clarifying” that Musharraf did not mean to recognize Israel now.

Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed has said there is no question of recognising Israel as Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali has already given a statement in this regard.

When asked about President Musharraf’s statement on the subject, the minister said, “The president had referred to the Middle East peace roadmap, according to which Palestine is to be made a state.”

Another minister has spoken sort of in favor of the idea.

Federal Interior Minister Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat on Sunday called for a joint decision of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to recognise Israel or not.

Talking to The Nation, the Federal Minister argued that Islamabad had neither any direct confrontation nor conflict of interests with Israel while some of the main Arab countries have already recognised it. ?Even after 55 years of confrontation with India, if we can continue diplomatic ties with it why not with Israel?? he questioned. He said that Islamabad would have to take decisions in the larger national interests keeping in view the 21st century requirements.

Geo TV also did an opinion poll on the subject which found that roughly half of the Pakistanis questioned were willing to review Israeli ties. However, it was not a random sample. Rather it consisted of selected viewers of Geo TV based in the major cities of Pakistan. The question was “Should we review our policy on Israel” with respondents answering yes or no. The question is ambiguous and some people who want Pakistan to do more against Israel could also reply in the affirmative. However, even with all the problems with this poll, it is a significant result.

The News, which is probably Pakistan’s largest newspaper group, did not take a stand against or for recognizing Israel in an editorial. But it does consider Israel to be a “vicious enemy” and having lots of influence in the US through the “powerful Jewish American community.”

A primary factor is that the Jewish state has long been an enemy of Pakistan. We had refused to accept Israel as a legal entity because it was illegally imposed upon Arab land by force by the United States. This exercise had resulted in the death of thousands of Palestinians and the expulsion of millions from their homes in what is the holy land.

Pakistan’s non-recognition cost it dearly as it invited the enmity of the powerful American Jewish community, which has a major stake in the US media, economy and politics. At the same time Tel Aviv became a staunch friend of India, benefiting it with much needed assistance in military hardware, training and supply of state of the art AWACs—Phantoms. The American Jewish community also heavily lobbied in favour of India in influencing US policies. The benefit we gained by opposing Israel was Arab gratitude that was translated into support on the Kashmir issue and economic help.

[…]Although the final decision will ultimately be decided by the people, the government would need to weigh what immediate good Pakistan could expect from such a decision and how deeply interested Israel may be in seeking our acceptance. An obvious benefit may be a change in the hostile attitude of the US media and political influentials who might be inclined to be more balanced in their attitude towards Pakistan. Another plus point is that Israel might be ready to sell some of its sophisticated military hardware to Pakistan or decline selling it to India. But, overall it will rid us of the threat from a vicious enemy.

And now some Israeli reaction:

A senior representative of the Israeli administration has lauded the views expressed by President Pervez Musharraf, in his exclusive interview to the Geo TV Channel, on the question of according recognition to Israel by the government of Pakistan.

One of the senior most Israeli diplomats, Israeli Ambassador accredited to EU and also covering the NATO, Oded Eran told The News that the statement of President Pervez Musharraf on taking the issue of recognition of Israel seriously in the changed circumstances is applauded as ‘positive’ by the Israeli government.

Adhering to his previous stance of pursuing even handed approach towards India and Pakistan if Pakistan recognizes Israel, the Israeli Ambassador to EU said formal contact between Tel Aviv and Islamabad would only be possible when Israel receives positive gestures indicating Pakistani willingness to accord recognition to Israel.

So why is Pakistan thinking about recognizing Israel? The main reason is related to the military and India. The Pakistani military has mostly gotten military hardware and technology from China since the US stopped its military aid. Pakistan needs more and better sources for technology. On the other hand, cooperation between India and Israel has been increasing over the years. Pakistan would like to counter that by establishing relations with Israel. The Israeli ambassador’s interview is especially interesting in this light. He says that Israel would be neutral in the conflict between India and Pakistan if Pkaistan is willing to recognize Israel. This is also significant in terms of secret military deals. Pakistan would probably be happy to strike some secret deals for military hardware or technology (like it is rumored it did with apartheid-era South Africa, another government it did not recognize) but Israel wants no part in that.

Will it happen? It could, under the right circumstances. The poll, though extremely flawed, is a good reason for optimism. Also, there needs to be people invested in this idea. A constituency which will gain from recognizing Israel. Sort of like the decision by the previous government of Nawaz Sharif to change the weekly holiday to Sunday due to demands by its business constituency. The military and national security establishment might be one group which will benefit. However, they are not enough. The businessmen need to be convinced as well. If Pakistan recognizes Israel, it should establish full trade relations and not restrict itself to military cooperation only.

The major hurdle is the religious alliance. They are powerful nowadays with considerable support inside Parliament as well as street power. They opposed the Sunday holiday as well but at the time they were weak and were satisfied by Nawaz Sharif in other ways. Another issue is that Musharraf is locked in a struggle with the religious alliance and other opposition parties over his constitutional amendments and military uniform. That is definitely more important to Musharraf than recognition of Israel. Plus Musharraf has not shown any cojones in matters not related to his survival in power. He withdrew announced changes in blasphemy laws during his martial law days due to opposition by religious leaders.

UPDATE: An online poll on Jang’s website is currently running 46.54% in favor versus 46.22% against (total votes 1863) recognition of Israel being in Pakistan’s national interest. Take it with a ton of salt as you should all online polls.

Author: Zack

Dad, gadget guy, bookworm, political animal, global nomad, cyclist, hiker, tennis player, photographer

73 thoughts on “Israel and Pakistan”

  1. Q: Those views you assign to “many jews around the world” are a small minority.

    Asif, Imran: Thanks for your comment.

    Tyler: huh?

  2. hi dear
    i am from pakistan living near afgan boarder in quetta town. i think pakistan and afghanistan should recognize israel, because most of arab countries have diplomatic relation with israel, it is best time for pakistan and afghanistan to open door with israel,in order to make strong relation ship in future. pakistan and afghanistan policy maker should not come under hard liner islimic exteremist, they are using the name of islam for their self interest in both countries,they are illiterate, hate ful against civilize world. i want to till you besically pathan and israel are both lost brothes, we are belong to same race.

  3. Hello!
    We all are human beings. God has created has , is it not? God has send Quran at the time of ARabs Jahaleyat period, so the culture in Quran reflects that old or probably new culture of Quran and all ahkamats are according to arabs, do you agree.The people who interpreted the saying of prophet mohammed(SAE) are also through arabs imams or khalifas.Is not it. ? Did not see what arabs are? I hope our poor people do not know but all those who have visited arabs know it? Are they worthy with the exception of few countries, to believe in them even today; when world is so civilised at large. You all would say no? So a big so ooo?

    Mushrakeen are different from kafereens is it not so?

    If yes then is not God has allowed to marry with a ahlal ketab —ofcourse they are mushriks but ahlal ketab jews as well as cristians. You are loving india its films its every thing though they are kafir in majority, is it not so?So to be friendly with israeal is no dbig deal , we must. Regarding palestine——poorer are the sufferers not the bunch of the people who are in government. Not a single child of any office bearer of the govet of palestine has gone for succide attack or is killed. The govet. does not want peace with israel, because in this condition they are getting billions from all over the world. otherwise in case of peace all many sender would stop sending money. What is your opinion now?

  4. i have writen couple of columns in daily newspaper jurrat. adetailed column aag ya paani(fire or water)on monday 29th 08 2005.Ibelieve palastine struggle is justified but it is not a war between muslims and jews.Its a regionalissue between JEWS VS muslims and Christians of palastine.Israel must do more for long term harmony and peace in world.

  5. اسرائیل اور پاکستان

    جوناتھن سے پتہ چلا کہ پاکستان اور اسرائیل کے وزرائے خارجہ نے استنبول میں ملاقات کی ہے۔ یہ کوئی ایسی نئی بات بھی نہیں ہے۔ آج سے دو سال پہلے جنرل مشرف نے اسرائیل کو تسلیم کرنے کا خیال ظاہر……

  6. Hello Suleman Khalid,
    I am surprized a person like you is talking so narrowmindedly . How can jews destroy the moral values of our generation. Were those jews, who were telling you to go to prostitutes all the time or your own immorality and uncontrolable sexual desires???. When hypocrate people like you talk about these like this. It really sucks. After doing every thing, at the end of the day you guys start talking like saints.

  7. More About Israel and Pakistan

    I have argued before that Pakistan should recognize Israel. There have been some ambiguous signs regarding relations between these two countries recently. First, there was Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf meeting Israeli opposition leader Shimon Peres during the World Economic……

  8. More About Israel and Pakistan

    I have argued before that Pakistan should recognize Israel. There have been some ambiguous signs regarding relations between these two countries recently. First, there was Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf meeting Israeli opposition leader Shimon Peres during the World Economic……

  9. my god !!
    i didnt know there is so much hatred against india in u pakistanis !! well here in india we guys really love u frm our hearts (we dnt knw abt our government) but reading few of msgs here i really feel bad abt the hatred against us inside u

    i am a non hindu indian
    take care

  10. salamualikum to all muslims
    my dear brother wht do u think …how is pakistan…and accepting israel ….i HATE tht sob bcoz think abt it for a moment JEWS who were not of ur prophet salalahualihiwasalam how could be ur friends and we don hate India not indians we just hate the bloody hypocrites

    As for me ISRAEL SUCKS my A**

    Take carz all and no offence meant :\ whtsoever

    Allah Hafiz

  11. Why are pakistani’s coming to this worthless website and discussing Israel? What is Israel? An Illegally occupied land by the Jews? What is Pakistan supposed to recognize? An Illegally occupied land just because Pakistan can get some “business deals” ? We have our morals, ethics. We refuse to recognize this illegally occupied land. We however, accept, recognize and love Palestine.

    This blog is useless and I dont think its worth wasting our time here posting on some idiots blog.

  12. salamualikum to all muslims
    well heelo its my tongue and u cant control it so listen up dude this is the feeedom of speech and i have the full rite to say whtever i think so.. well i said the truth thtsy BCOZ i HATE israel and israels not bcoz they are jews not they oocupied the territory but bcoz they kill innocent people huh…
    well no offence meant but i wanna b sraight and to the point ZacK !!!
    ByE!

  13. salamualikum to muslims again
    well the thing is why dun the isreal take sumone else …for eg Pakistan but den i think its shame full for us to beat them bcoz huh… they r no match i think they remeber when we whiped them when our airforce pilots fought wid themm….
    well its shamefull for JEWS to kill innocent people infact if they hav any shame…i doubt it 🙂
    No offence meant ..
    Byez all

  14. Usman:

    well heelo its my tongue and u cant control it so listen up dude this is the feeedom of speech and i have the full rite to say whtever i think so.

    You don’t have the right to say hateful stuff or call anyone names on my site.

  15. well Ur site :\ ok thx for sayin tht i neva new but 1 thing i nw is true *********** hpe u understand these are nt bad words zack so dun get angry n i will never ever cum 2 dis useless site thx any wayz :\

  16. Pakistan Presedent Musharraf proved himslef as a great Muslim world leader he first time made the breakthrough with the jewish community by addressing their elite class and the hater jews even started think about the pakistani muslims and started many interactions in trade and technology .There is no harm at all by recognising Israel.Look man!every nation has their own intrests so The Pakistan nation should have their.Palestinians never stand with us at Kashmir issue nor other issues.Yaaser Arfat never speak about kashmir so why r we so crazy for them lets make good decisions we dont hate anybody we need peace in the world we need more friends even we have in the friendship with india we have to prove our selves as Broadminded moderate muslim nation in the world Lets enjoy in main stream of the world swimming together with other nations.
    I stand with Musharraf’s vision and condemn all terrorisms in world and ready to do all for the better relations with other nations .
    Mr Shah
    Texas USA
    e mail : punjtravel@yahoo.com

  17. Hello in Jesus,

    Greeting !

    Its great to have peace all over the world. I have suggestion that Pakistan and Isreal should talk to each other for peace process so that our energies would be used in positive ways. We as Christian of Pakistan pray for peace, love and forgiveness to all nations and human being and wish to keep peace all over the world.

    with best regards

    Amjad pervaiz

  18. No way at any cost what,s so ever.Pakistan will not accept israel at any conditions,weather israel accepted or not.so for what israel is doing in Gaza and killing innocent Palestinians in the name of hamas,telling lies that hamas is killing innocent children s in Gaza.what a joke.why any Muslim will kill there own children,s.that is why israel had done some understanding with india a good relations and to help for invent pakistan and to confiscate the lands.Pakistani people call Musharraf as a poodle of usa a word busharraf. no body wants to know about qadiani,s.their are totally against Muslims and their religions.for no matter pakistan mullah,s will kick the asses who dare to recognized israel. Pakistani people were totally against israel since the 1948 war with Palestinian,s,confiscate their lands and killing the innocents. Once for all Pakistani public are the biggest mother fucking people in the world.if pakistan will had a civil war against public,BOY,they will fuck every soldiers who ever come in their way.i am a Pakistani too,i know what is the public of pakistan,highly trained people in every way.in any retaliation they can do any thing what,s so ever.no limit to cross the lines.they got the much good weapons than Pakistani army.the matter is to accept israel will be leave in a dust bin forever and include mullah,s and public will not accept israel at any cost.president and the prime minister had to take a decision from the public.they can,t do any think unless the public say yes or no.it depend on a Pakistani public and as a Pakistani i would never accept israel.no deal,no acceptations,no talk,s,and no amendments. thus pakistan has their own power ties that they can used in their politics,not to do any thing without public decisions.

  19. Pakistan must not be more arab than the arabs themselves. Pakistan and Israel has no conflicts with one another. They are both great nations and must be on brotherly terms

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