Why should Pakistan and Israel have Diplomatic relations?

Once Pakistani leaders will decide that Israel is a worthy friend and ally, relations will begin. The Abraham Accords, in which Israel established diplomatic relations with UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, are already showing sweet fruits, and Pakistani leadership are keenly aware of these new developements and opportunities.

April 2, 2023

Why should Pakistan and Israel have Diplomatic relations?

In formulating an answer, the first question to arise is why Israel was unilaterally declared an enemy of Pakistan in the first place. No Israeli soldier has ever raised a gun against a Pakistani, nor Pakistani soldiers to an Israeli (Israelis were killed in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Interestingly, Gen. Zia UlHaq battled Palestinians across our border, in Jordan).

It can be understood why, throughout the battle against Partition (1940-1947), Indian leadership under Gandhi and Nehru opposed the founding of Israel all the way to voting against its founding in the UN on Nov. 29, 1947. Under any plan preposed by the UN, the founding of Israel was to include partitioning the Holyland, , into a Jewish State and an Arab one. Gandhi viewed this as a threatening precedent that would lead to the partition of India. He also had a very limited understanding of Jewish history. 

But why did Jinnah and the Pakistan Movement oppose the founding of Israel and vote in the UN against its founding? Was this not exactly what they had done in India three months before the UN vote on Israel? 

They did so in the name of solidarity with the Islamic Ummah and for the sake of bidding for leadership of this Ummah, or at least parts of it.

Radical Islamic leaders in India, from the Ali brothers to Al-Mauddudi, had supported the fiercely antisemitic Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al Husseini, as early as the 1920’s, during the Khilifat Movement. They continued to galvanize the Indian Muslim public opinion against Israel ever since. Jinnah too, opposed Israel vehemently, and his trend of thought became prevalent in Pakistan ever since, with few notable exceptions (the full chronicles of Israel-Pakistan relations can be read in an excellent research paper, here).

Dare to Learn

Many may hold strong opinions on the subject, but how much serious research have young, educated, and aspiring Pakistanis done about Israel? Have they heard about the uninterrupted Jewish history in Israel from biblical times till today? Have they dared to read what Jews themselves write about themselves rather than hearing Jewish history from Jew-haters across the globe? This will undoubtedly challenge many false assumptions, and reveal countless surprising truths. For example: 

  • Jews are indigenous to the Holyland and retained a constant presence since biblical times, in fluctuating numbers. 
  • Jews are not Europeans by nationality or genetics. The majority of Israelis are Mizrahi or Sephardi Jews, whose grandparents came to Israel from Islamic countries.
  • Palestinians are not indigenous to the Holyland and are primarily newcomers of the last 200 years. Many of them came because the Zionist pioneers had created new job opportunities. A minority of Palestinians are Jews who converted to Islam.
  • Most Israelis are traditional in varying degrees. They are not atheists, communists, or sworn enemies of Islamic religion. 
  • Around 20% of Israeli citizens are Arabs of Muslim and Christian faith.

Goal-Oriented Policymaking

After deciding to jump into the water and do serious research, at the bottom line, the important question I see is this: 

What has Pakistan gained and what has it lost from a century of policies aimed at patronizing the Palestinian cause and inculcating hatred of Israel?

Are these policies religious commandments to be strictly observed forever on? Are they a sacred Pakistani tradition that must handed down from father to son without question? 

Or maybe, as more than one keen observer have suggested, these opinions persist among Pakistani leadership and public opinion primarily because of habit, inertia, and a comfortable laziness of the mind?

The Balance Sheet of Pakistani Policy

Pakistan’s losses from support for the Palestinians are easy to explain. Ardent support for the Palestinian cause goes hand in hand with radical Islam and radicalism in general. The figure of Abdullah Azzam, the, founder of global Jihad ideology is paradigmatic here. If one has sincerely researched the facts, one may conclude that Palestinian misery is primarily self-inflicted, primarily Israeli-inflicted, or a mix of both. But let it be clear where overly passionate support for their cause will take you. 

The Palestinian leadership is radical. HAMAS proudly states its murderous Jew-hatred in its official Charter (other Palestinian factions are only proud in Arabic, but not in Western languages). Their schoolbooks are among the most violent in the world, much more radical than anything you will read in Pakistan Studies classes. Their media is radical, and their Islam is radical. Do not think befriending these people and their activists anywhere in the world cannot harm you, your friends, or your country. Pakistanis deserve productive friendships, not destructive ones. 

What has Pakistan to gain from supporting Israel?

This too is very easy to explain. You just have to look right over the Pakistani border. If you live in Pakistan and secretly (or openly) envy the success of India, you can see Israeli Foreign Ministry’s development work there. Israel sells India water technologies of all forms, which Pakistan already thirsts for, agricultural technologies,  and technologies in fields such as communications, software, computer chips, and yes, weapons, like in our popular 'Fauda' television series. 

Pakistanis are no different or inferior. Once Pakistani leaders will decide that Israel is a worthy friend and ally, relations will begin to happen. The Abraham Accords, in which Israel established diplomatic relations with UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco, are already showing sweet fruits. Pakistani leadership are keenly aware of these new developements and opportunities.

The same Israel tourists that flock in large numbers to Indian Kashmir can enjoy Pakistani Kashmir. The Pashtuns of KPK can be as hospitable as the Pathans of UP, and the markets of Peshawar or Lahore as fun as Srinagar or Delhi.  Visiting Israel  will be a delight for Pakistanis, as it is recently becoming for Indians. Hospitality is an Abrahamic tradition, and we can match our long-lost Pashtun brothers at it. The only real way to know Israel is to see with your eyes. 

“I summon heaven and earth as witnesses before you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life—if you and your offspring would live— by loving your God, heeding God’s commands and holding fast to God. For thereby you shall have life and shall long endure upon the soil that God swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give to them.” (Torah, Devarim - Deuteronomy 30, 19-20)