UAE’s Decision to Recognize Israel: Implications for Pakistan’s Foreign Policy

In a surprising turn of events, the United Arab Emirates decided to normalize diplomatic and strategic ties with Israel by signing a customized deal under the auspice of the United States of America. By undertaking this diplomatic move, UAE becomes the third Arab state to recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel, only after Egypt and Jordan. Interestingly enough, the tale does not end here, for several of Western as well as Middle Eastern voices have claimed that a number of other Muslim Arab states are expected to follow suit.

In the words of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son in law and senior adviser, “There is a good chance that another country could make a deal with Israel in the coming days.” Inside sources, as reported by Al Quds newspaper, claim those countries to be Bahrain and Oman.

Among the members of the international community, the decision by UAE has reaped mixed reactions. While David M. Friedman, U.S. Ambassador to Israel, declared the Israel-UAE Agreement to be ‘a Courageous Decision ‘, several Muslim countries have criticized UAE for their rational and rather self-serving move which vehemently ignores the ground realities of the Palestine crisis. Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, issued a statement openly denouncing the accord. He stated; “The Palestinian leadership rejects and denounces the UAE, Israeli and US trilateral, surprising announcement.”

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan does not recognize Israel as a legitimize Nation-State, a fact that can be reaffirmed from the passport of the country which mentions; “This passport is valid for all countries in the world except Israel.” The main reason for Pakistan behind not recognizing the state of Israel lies in Pakistan’s staunch support for the cause of Kashmir’s right to self-determination. Pakistan considers the cause of Palestine’s independence to be concurrent with the struggle of Kashmiri people, sacrificing blood every day for over half a century, just like their Palestinian brothers and sisters. Foreign Office stated;

“Pakistan has an abiding commitment to the full realization of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, including the right to self -determination.”

Therefore, advocating for the right of Palestinian people to self-govern their land is actually the vindication of the rights of the Kashmiri people to reclaim the land they once owned. That is why, soon after the announcement by the FO of UAE, Pakistan’s Foreign Office issued its own statement, declaring;

“Pakistan’s approach will be guided by our evaluation of how Palestinians’ rights and aspirations are upheld and how regional peace, sec­urity, and stability are preserved.”

That is why Pakistan sticks to the stance that Pakistan would never have relations with the State of Israel unless and until a free and independent state of Palestine is created with Jerusalem as its capital. Pakistan is the Islamic Republic, created on the norms of democratic principles of liberty and equality. Israel, on the other hand, was founded on the basis of illegal occupation of Palestinian land, expanded through unfair and dishonest apartheid and unjust settlements. Therefore, a state-created on the undemocratic principles of forceful occupation and human rights violations cannot be recognized by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This foreign policy move of not recognizing Palestine is inherited by the nation from the guiding practices of the founding father, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. In 1947, Israel’s founding figure, David Ben Gurion sent a requesting telegram to Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah trying to establish formal diplomatic relations with Pakistan. The telegram was ignored by the Quaid and it remains unanswered to date.

Although some analysts and foreign policy advisors suggest that Pakistan should let go of its constant denial of the State of Israel on account of its economic and geo-strategic interests as most of the Muslim world and some of the Arab states have recognized Israel as a reality. However, for Pakistan, expressing solidarity with the State of Palestine is a matter of ideological inclination. Pakistan is the only Muslim state in the world, along with the State of Madina, that was established on the basis of Islamic ideology. Therefore, we cannot ignore the ideological aspect of the matter and follow the footsteps of the UAE or any other state that may recognize Israel in the future. That is why, despite several propaganda campaigns announcing Pakistan’s impending plans to recognize Israel for strategic and fiscal benefits, the country and its spokesmen have constantly denounced such claims. For instance, in September 2019, then DG ISPR and FO Spokesperson issued clear statements, denouncing any talk among the policymaking benches regarding the recognition of Israel. The FO Spokesperson at the time, Muhammad Faisal said,

“Such activities are part of baseless propaganda, there is no change in policy. Our policy of non-recognition of Israel remains unchanged. ”

Similarly, as soon as UAE announced its plan to recognize the legitimacy of the state of Israel, a debate began to brew up regarding whether Islamabad should or should not reconsider its foreign policy doctrine of not recognizing the legitimacy of the State of Israel.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Dunya News’ editorial stance.

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