Cover Story

Recognizing Israel

Pakistan has considered recognizing Israel many times. Discussions to this effect
were held during Prime Minister Suharwardy’s time as well as during Prime Minister
Benazir Bhutto’s tenure. The former Pakistan foreign minister Mian Khurshid Kasuri
met the Israeli foreign minister in 2005.

By Wajid Jawad | October 2020
Former Pakistan foreign minister Mian Khurshid Kasuri with former Israeli foreign minister Silvan Shalom.

Recent developments resulting from a USA-sponsored announcement of recognition of Israel by the UAE and Bahrain at a White House ceremony is considered to be a great foreign policy achievement by US President Donald Trump, while Saudi Arabia is getting restive in the wings.

The timing of the announcement was significant as it was before the crucial US Presidential Debate on September 30, 2020 and the forthcoming US Presidential election in November 2020. The Jewish community in the US is a force to be reckoned with. Israel has great influence over U.S. policy-making, particularly in the area of foreign policy. Another strong community and country that exerts substantial impact in the U.S. is the Indian Diaspora and India. People of Indian origin hold top positions in many Fortune 500 companies, including many IT giants. Things have come to a point that a lady of Indian origin is the running mate (vice presidential candidate) of the Democratic Presidential nominee, Joe Biden.

Pakistan has considered recognizing Israel many times. Prime Minister S.H. Suharwardy had supported Israel’s recognition by Pakistan in the mid-fifties, with the caveat of binding the State of Israel to their then land occupation position. In hindsight, that appears to have been a wise decision.

I was once told by the late V.A Jafarey Sahib, former Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, of one such discussion in the cabinet of late Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. She had said that she must speak to Mr. Yasir Arafat before further discussion. Mr. Yasser Arafat became very emotional and said that if Pakistan also recognized Israel then what else would be left for Palestine, so the proposal was shelved.

Read More