- Pakistan cannot afford to recognize Israel
By Wazir Zafar Hassan
The posture of Arab states towards Israel is becoming soft. They want to establish relations with Israel. After a move by the UAE to recognize Israel, a debate in the South Asian nations about establishing ties with the Jewish state, Israel, has once again started.
Furthermore, it’s being debated who is next in the queue? Is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia going to recognize Israel and paving the way for its allies to recognize it as well? Or other Arab states? Does Islamabad intend to recognize Tel Aviv after the Arab states? What will happen if Pakistan recognizes Israel? Why are the Gulf countries coming closer to Israel? Many other burning questions are being debated.
Many Pakistani journalists think Pakistan needs to reconsider its policy to Israel to remain in step with the shifting geopolitics in the Middle East and it is time to recognize Israel as a separate country since the UAE recognized Israel as a sovereign country while Turkey, Egypt and Jordan have already recognized Israel, as have Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. These handfuls of TV anchors, journalists and other supporters of Israel do not represent the feelings of more than 200 million people of the country.
In International Relations, a famous saying of Lord Palmerston is often quoted, “nations have no permanent enemies, only permanent interests”. The decision to recognize Israel may be in the interests of Pakistan in many aspects like technology and weapons sharing. Also, Israel is one of the most technologically advanced and influential countries in the world. The decision may also deepen the ties of Pakistan with the USA. It may represent Pakistan as a friendly and moderate Islamic country to the world. By building trade relations with Israel, Pakistan can boost its economy as Israel offers a huge market. And the feeling that the India-Israel connections is working against Pakistan, may be lowered.
But the decision may have several harmful implications as well and we cannot neglect that. It could prove a death sentence to the political party implementing the decision. In Pakistan, religious parties have a lot of power. Many recent incidents and the history of Pakistan prove this. The very next moment after the recognition of Israel, in Pakistan mass protests may erupt all over the country led by the clergy and religious parties. A chaotic situation may arise which will prove a serious blow to the Pakistani economy.
The world must work for the peaceful solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The world must think and work for the two-state solution of the conflict. If a peaceful solution comes about in the future, there will be no dispute over recognizing Israel as a sovereign and legitimate state
The second most considerable problem that Pakistan may face after recognition of Israel is that there will be no moral grounds left for Pakistan to quarrel with India for Kashmir. The recognition could tear Pakistan’s posture in favour of the right of self-determination for the Kashmiri people. Pakistan will have no ethical domain to raise voice for Kashmir andmany other victims of barbarity becausei it will be accepting the aggressor over its victims. Where do the Islamic or humanistic moral principles lie as Pakistanis feels proud in saying the name of their country is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan?
Thirdly, this action may anger a Pakistani neighbour, Iran. Relations between Iran and Pakistan have remained positive although many ups and downs have happened. Iran has always supported Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. Changing the relationship may change Iran’s stance on Kashmir. Iran has an aggressive foreign policy towards Israel. The Gulf countries and Israel can never tolerate the rising influence of Iran in the politics of the Middle East. They see cooperation among them as a form of opposition to Iran’s growing regional power and influence. Many Arab states feel that Iran and Turkey are a bigger threat to the region than Israel. Also, the converging interests of Iran, Turkey and China have exacerbated fears across the Middle East. That’s why Arab countries and Israel are coming close together for a common interest to counter Iran and Turkey. The US also backed Arab countries for the same reason.
The decision may also anger the closest ally of Pakistan of the present time, Turkey. Turkey intends to lead the Muslim world so it will be trying to gain the sympathy of the Muslim world.
This is not just about recognition of a country for Pakistan, but about accepting the bellicosity of the aggressor. It’s about more than 750,000 Palestinians who were displaced and became refugees as a result of 1948 the war which results in the formation of Israel. It’s about thousands of Palestinians killed by the Israeli military. It’s about thousands of towns destroyed and much more.
Pakistan’s policy towards the recognition of Israel has been quite clear from the very beginning. In 1947, Israel’s founder David Ben Burion’s telegram to Mohammad Ali Jinnah was ignored and remained unanswered. It was an attempt to establish diplomatic relations with Pakistan. Prime Minister Imran Khan recently said that Pakistan will never accept the state of Israel until the people of Palestine get their rights and an independent state. He added if we recognize Israel and ignore the tyranny faced by Palestinians, we will have to give up Kashmir as well, and this we cannot do. The present time is quite a turbulent time for Pakistan, and it cannot withstand additional riots in the country because of such a decision.
After considering the whole scenario, there should be no recognition to Israel for now unless the Palestinians are given a just settlement, or there will be a two-state solution. This is not because of Muslim versus Jews, but is based on a human level because the decision of recognition cannot make Israel the superpower of the world.
The world must work for the peaceful solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. The world must think and work for the two-state solution of the conflict. If a peaceful solution comes about in the future, there will be no dispute over recognizing Israel as a sovereign and legitimate state.
The writer is a student of BS International Relations at the University of Sargodha