In the backdrop of the Abraham accord signed between Israel and G.C.C allies U.A.E, Bahrain with the mediation of former President Donald Trump his secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and Trumps son in law Jared Kushner whose sole responsibility was to pave the way for normalization between Israel and Arabs to deal with the common threat Iran and divergence of their interests in the Persian Gulf and broadly middle east. Reportedly Pakistan is also being pressurized by Saudis and Emiratis to dovetail them in their pursuit of normalization with Israel like recently Sudan, Morrocco, and Kosovo did. The recent strain in the relations of Pakistan with Saudis and Emiratis can be explained through an Israeli angle but there are some other factors at play also like the Kaula Lampur Summit, Pakistan’s romantic relation with Turks, and Iran, the Islamization of the Kashmir issue, and Crown Prince MBS hawkish desires to lead the Muslim world in his own strange way.
Despite not having official diplomatic relations Pakistan and Israel have still cooperated with each other when needed. Clandestine cooperation between the two existed at the military level, the event is remembered as black September of 1970. When PLO rebelled against King Hussain of Jordan from Palestinian refugee camps. Brigadier Zia ul Haq who later became President was on official assignment to train Jordanian armed forces to help suppress the P.L.O rebellion on the orders of King Hussain in which more than 25000 Palestinians were massacred. There are two sides to the story and both are totally botched up but the fact is that military action against P.L.O militants helped the cause of Israel.
The highest point of relations between Pakistan and Israel was achieved in 2005 when Recep Tayyib Erdogan assisted a meeting between Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri and his Israeli counterpart Silvan Shalom at the request of President Musharaf, in this meeting Shalom categorically denied any involvement with India to target Pakistani nuclear facility of Kahuta in 1988. President Pervez Musharaf was a strong advocate of normalization with Israel but his grip on power was weakening and eventually he had to go in 2007 due to the return of democracy to the country and the Pakistan-Israel reproachment which was in full swing also ended when Musharaf was ousted from office.
The last recorded incident of intelligence cooperation happened between Pakistan and Israel was revealed by WikiLeaks in a leaked cable of U.S diplomat General (retired) Ahmed Shuja Pasha former Head of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency “ISI” told Anne Peterson former U.S ambassador to Pakistan to connect him to the Mossad chief that there is a possibility of terrorist attack in Mumbai India and potential Israeli soft targets like tourists who are in India might be targeted. Because of that intel, Mossad was able to evacuate a number of Israeli tourists from India on time but unfortunately, some lost their lives in the Mumbai Taj Hotel attack in 2008.
U.A.E, Bahrain, and Israel inked their normalization agreement at the White House on August 13 2020 with the mediation of former President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner the agreement was named Abraham accord because Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all are considered Abrahamic religions and people of the book so due to common bond and reverence to Hazrat Ibrahim A.S a messenger of Allah the accord was named as Abraham peace accord how peaceful it is it’s just a matter of time. After the agreement couple of other Muslim countries also forged diplomatic ties with Israel including Sudan, Morrocco, and Kosovo dovetailing Arabs. Arabs’ alliance with Israel is based on quid pro quo, Israel is the most diplomatically isolated country in the world especially among Muslim majority countries due to the issue of Palestine and their human rights violation record. Major Muslim countries like Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Malaysia don’t recognize Israel in their solidarity with the Palestinian Muslim brothers in faith and the Pan-Islamic idea of Ummah.
Pakistan shares a common religious bond and brotherhood with Arabs but currently, it isn’t in good shape to yield any better results that will suit the national interest of Pakistan it’s a fact that we are still Strategic partners of Saudi Arabia and our troops are stationed there for the protection of two holiest sites of Islam but our non-participation in Yemen war and Crown prince M.B.S hawkish foreign policy desires have brought the relations between two to the lowest of point and yes our obsession with Kashmir and its projection as an issue of the Muslim world has also played its role in deteriorating our relations with Saudis and Emiratis. So, then how we should go about our Israel policy if we are not going to dovetail Arabs in their normalization spree with Israel. China could be a reliable and trustworthy broker between Pakistan and Israel if we are going to interact in near future. China will wholeheartedly welcome this move because it has a permanent seat in the security council with veto power and as a global power, China wants to catch up with the US in terms of showcasing diplomatic power by brokering a normalization deal between Pakistan and Israel just like US-brokered Abraham accord. Pakistan doesn’t need any security guarantees from Israel like Saudis and Emiratis, our relations with Israel should be independent of any external pressure and should be meant for attaining our own foreign policy objectives and how best we can serve the national interest of Pakistan not Pan Islamic interest of imaginary Ummah. We should not be in any hurry to forge diplomatic ties with Israel because there is a lot of space between recognition and non-recognition, we must exploit that grey zone but the road to normalization with Israel must go through Beijing with which our strategic interests align.
Rauf Khalid Cheema is a graduate of Nuclear and Strategic Studies from the National Defence University, Pakistan. He is an Intern at Pakistan’s Ministry of Defense, Islamabad. His areas of interest are Strategic Dynamics of South Asia, Security issues in Central Asia, and the Middle East. He usually writes on topics related to Nuclear Technology, Revolution in Military Affairs, Arms Control, Non-Proliferation, and Disarmament. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The views expressed by the writers do not necessarily represent Global Defense Insight’s editorial policy.