Friday, September 02, 2005

Rapprochement: Pakistan & Israel

John Burgess points to an editorial in Arab News titled Why Pakistan Engages the Jewish Congress.

There are three specific facts that explain Pakistan’s current engagement. One, while Quaid-e-Azam’s rejection of Israel’s creation was morally valid, the changing parameters of the Palestinian issue now require promoting the creation of a Palestinian state and its secure and peaceful existence alongside the Israeli state. All the Muslim states including Iran have moved from seeking the destruction of Israel to seeking its withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders.
Two, despite the overt policy of routinely condemning Israel, successive Pakistani governments have had covert contacts with Israel.
The third and perhaps the most compelling reason to engage with the Jewish community now is to arrest the diabolical trend of clash of civilizations that has gained momentum ever since 9/11 and the US occupation of Iraq. It would be an attempt to bridging civilizations.
Last lines of the piece...

How credible will be Musharraf’s efforts to play a role in leading the pathway to peace will depend on how he will deal with it. The parameters of the current engagement are clear. First, the engagement would help to facilitate a just settlement of the Palestinian issue. Second, the engagement with pro-Israeli Jewish organizations is neither an endorsement of their views on Israel nor an endorsement of current Israeli policies toward the Palestinians. Third, recognition of Israel will only follow a fair and final settlement of the Palestinian problem.

It seems the Gaza withdrawal is already yielding diplomatic dividends. The whole thing is worth a read. (The presumption is that the reader has enough intelligence and education to know what is being said, something not typical of a good many western papers.)

Another item under the "news" category supports the editorial.

Jonathan Edelstein blogged about the same report.

There's more than a little self-interest on both sides in improving bilateral relations. For Israel, normalization with the second-largest Muslim country in the world would be a major diplomatic coup, and might open the door to similar thaws with other Muslim nations in south and central Asia. Pakistan, for its part, would gain leverage to influence Israel's growing defensive alliance with India, which it doubtless considers worth the price of making Hamas unhappy. Given the strength of this mutual interest, I'd expect some initial steps - most likely including an end to Pakistan's travel ban on Israeli citizens - to happen fast.

(I'm also flattered to find he left a comment here.)

1 comment:

Jonathan Edelstein said...

He forgot the fourth reason: to get some leverage over Israel's defensive alliance with India.