In ancient and medieval imaginations of political order a sovereign territory can survive in solitary,but in the realm of international relations, diplomatic contacts or ties between the autonomousstates are of utmost importance. In today’s arena of inter-connectivity and inter-dependence, no state can exist in unilateralism. For the acquirement of national interest every state has to develop economic, strategic, cultural and military associations—whether bilateral or multilateral. But Israel and Pakistan are exceptional, because both have failed to develop diplomatic bonds. If we analyze the pages of history then it could be seen that Pakistan and Israel have never indulged and involved in any sort of antagonism, hostility, animosity or clash.
These both are the only two countries who came into existence on ideological narrative—religion and after World War II. Both are security driven states that have countered the aggression of neighboring states—existential threat on the embodiment of an ideology. The security dilemma influenced both Israel and Pakistan to follow two distinct yet identical solutions, namely, extra-regional linkages and the nuclear option.
But here the purpose of discussion is not referring about their similarities and commonalities but the basic argument lies on giving importance to the probability of their relations and how it would benefit each other. Islamabad since her inception showed reluctance in accepting the birth of a nation on the land of Palestine on the basis of showing solidarity to Palestinian people and to her Arab allies. Although many of her Arab allies —Turkey, Egypt, and Jordan– have given recognition to the disputed piece of land and adopted soft stance and flexible policy.
Moreover, Pakistan’s religious notion and rhetoric doesn’t allow her to shake hand with Tel Aviv but here one thing is very significant that Quid-e-Azam wanted Pakistan to be liberal state on the lines of Islamic ethos that should not be hijacked by religious bigotry and prejudice – but the reality is contrary.
Furthermore, the reactionary politics of Islamic factions and response of general people could be lethal if recognition would be given to Zionist state. Mainly here the responsibility lies with the factors—media and civil society that are important to form, nourish and nurture the opinion of the general masses about the realities of international politics.
Pakistan’s generals wanted to have diplomatic bonding with Israel which can be assessed from their respective statements:
“Pakistan is like Israel, an ideological state. Take out the Judaism from Israel and it will fall like a house of cards. Take Islam out of Pakistan and make it secular state; it would collapse” – General Zia-Ul-Haq
“Pakistan has no direct conflict or dispute with Israel. We pose no threat to Israel’s security. We trust that Israel poses no threat to Pakistan’s national security. But, our people have a deep sense of sympathy for the Palestinians people and their legitimate aspirations for statehood”– General Pervaiz Musharraf
In the recent visit of Benjamin Netanyahu to India he clarified that Israel’s partnership with India is directed to four things and not to some specific country. “It’s directed to achieve greater prosperity and greater security for our people, better health, cleaner air, clean water, more productive crops, more milk per cow”.
Additionally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed suggestions that his country’s partnership with India is a threat to Pakistan, saying, “We (Israel) are not enemies of Pakistan and Pakistan should not be our enemy either.”
The question which is of paramount importance here is what benefits and advantages both countries can acquire after quieting the quiet diplomacy.The answer is: Pakistan should support the Palestinian cause but after recognizing Israel she could use meaningful diplomatic measures—solidarists’ approach to pursue conflict resolution.
In context of strategic imperatives, Pakistan would be in a position to counter the contours of Delhi-Tel Aviv nexus, thus could create balance of power in South Asia. Similarlythe power hubs in Middle East could be influenced in a positive way because Pakistan enjoys sound relations with Arab world and recognizing Israel would create harmony in Middle East through mediation and conciliation.
Pakistan would offer Israel access to important countries like Iran—self-claimed theocracy and Saudi—self-possessed guardians of Islam Arabia—though Saudi Arabia has secret diplomatic alliance with Israel to counter Iranian influence in the region.
The strongest connection between the two states nonetheless is Abrahamic religion, which could play a role of abridge.This religious paradigm would create inter-faith harmony and would foster the tolerant and pluralist image of both countries at international arena.
Cultural exchanges are necessary.It could help students and travellers on both sides to exploit opportunities.
Tel Aviv has the strongest lobby in the world, recognition from Islamabad’s side would allow her to increase influence—soft power at international playground especially in US as Pakistan is experiencing flawed lobbying impacts as compare to Indian position.
On the economic front, Pakistan could be benefited from trading of cotton, gems, foods and other commodities. Moreover, military ties with Israel would definitely enrich Pakistan on the prospects of latest technology and nuclear capabilities.
In the current geo-political realities, rapprochement with Israel is the pragmatic attitude. Pakistan should quit its hardliner approach and accept the fact that Israel exists and acquire benefits to make her position strong in international community.
The same goes for Israel that her diplomatic bonds with Pakistan would neutralize her image at Middle Eastern region and world polity. Pakistan can establish relations with Tel Aviv on following models:
The Turkish model—Pakistan can recognize Israel without establishing diplomatic relations immediately.
The Jordanian mode—She can imitate the Jordanians and maintain close political as well as military relations with the Jewish state without granting any official recognition.
The Chinese model—She can adopt the Chinese example and view military contacts as a means of promoting political relations.