Friday, 30 May 2008

Should Pakistan recognise Israel?

Should Pakistan recognise Israel?
Dr Shabir Choudhry June 2003

President Mushharaf’s visit to Camp David has started more than one controversy and his alleged ‘sell out’ on Kashmir and on other issues including doing a deal on the recognition of Israel.

His invitation to Camp David was important and will have a far reaching impact on the politics of South Asia and Middle East. It is believed that President Musharraf, if he plays his cards correctly and wisely, will play a major role in years to come.

We people of Kashmir and people of Pakistan might not like everything he is asked to do, and everything he has pledged to do; but he and his close colleagues think they know better and that they are doing everything in the best interest of Pakistan and Muslims.

As a writer and a student of history, with strong feelings on the issue of Kashmir, I do not agree with many things he is doing, especially related to Kashmir; nor I agreed with Kashmir policy of any of his predecessors. But as far as his policy on the issue of Israel and controlling and containing threat of extremism and fanaticism is concerned, he has my full backing.

Many people give in to emotional feelings when they talk of Kashmir and Israel. And any decision clouded by emotional feelings could have serious consequences, therefore it is prudent for all concerned to look at the ground realities, and take decisions with political maturity and demands of the 21st century in mind.

On the issue of recognition of Israel I wrote the following article about three years ago, and I think under the present debate, it still has some valid points; hence I am presenting the article as it was written at that time.
Dr Shabir Choudhry

Careful study of relationships between various countries indicate, one solid rule in international relations: A country’s foreign policy is determined by its national interest.

The above rule is applied everywhere in the world, and this is why there are no permanent friends or foes in international politics. Today’s friends could well be tomorrow’s adversaries.

When one analyses Pakistan’s foreign policy, it becomes clear that Pakistan’s foreign policy does not follow the above internationally recognised rule. One notes that Pakistan’ foreign policy is too slow to change to meet the requirements of constantly changing world politics, hence Pakistan’s national interest is compromised. This is because Pakistan’s, foreign policy is dominated by emotions, traditions, and too much reliance on ‘friends’, not appreciating the above rule, that there are no permanent friends in world politics.

The aim of this short article is not to analyse the entire foreign policy of Pakistan but to explain that Pakistan needs to make certain much required changes to its foreign policy. Nation states can choose friends but cannot choose its neighbours. So it is imperative to have a friendly and cordial relationship with them. I don’t need to explain what Pakistan has lost as a result of bad relationship with India, Russia (USSR) and Afghanistan. Pakistan must have good relations with its neighbours in order to reap full benefits.

Pakistan’s foreign policy is full of blunders, and one such blunder, is to win the animosity of Israel and worse still to perpetuate it. And without doubt Pakistan has lost more from this. Today’s world politics is controlled and directed by international capitalism, and we all know that Jews dominate all these institutions. Is it prudent to continue this policy when Pakistan is at the mercy of these institutions? Some statistics to support the above point:

v We very much rely on the American support in every walk of life. There are 83 top brains, which control and direct American political, social, economical and military policies, and 45 of them are Jews. More than half of the remaining 38 has direct influence over them. The remaining has indirect influence or they could be cajoled to adopt a particular line.
v There are 600 multi - national companies, which control the International Capitalism. Jews own Three hundred of these, whereas Jews control 420 of them. The remaining multi nationals could be persuaded to take a specific line on certain matters.

Many would say Pakistan’s stand is a principled one- in accordance with the Islamic ideology. The fact is Pakistan took this stand in support of Palestinians and Arabs who also opposed the emergence of Israel, and the plight of the Palestinians.

If the stand was against the unfair treatment and cruelty to Palestinians then why did not Pakistan take a stand against Syria, Jordan, and Lebanon when they also butchered the Palestinians. The reason is these countries were Muslim and ‘friendly’ to Pakistan. (In case of Jordan, Pakistan helped to ‘butcher’ the Palestinians in 1970). An Islamic principle demands that Muslims who are suffering must be helped and supported, and Pakistan should have helped Palestinians not the Jordanian government. If the Islamic principle was to be held then Pakistan should have had a different policy towards America, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Iran, India, Afghanistan, Russia etc.

If this principle is relaxed because perpetrators are either Muslim or too powerful and it is not prudent to stand up for this principle. Then why Pakistan has to stand up for this principle in support of Arabs and Palestinians when they themselves have abandoned it. These countries have abandoned it because they think it is in their national interest to do so. Egypt did that despite the plight of the other neighbours and the Palestinians.

Pakistan supported them, and continued to do so even though it is not in the national interest to continue with this policy anymore. Pakistan wholeheartedly supported the Arabs and the Palestinians against Israel and won Israel’s animosity, and has lost considerably in every walk of life. Pakistan had a similar situation with India – wars and war like situation through out her short history. Have the Arabs and the Palestinians reciprocated by supporting Pakistan wholeheartedly? Arabs and the Palestinians are friendlier to India than Pakistan. India has better political and economic relationship with them. It doesn’t even occur to them that Pakistan can also provide more or less same services currently provided by India.

Some Arabs and Palestinians have become friends of Israel a long time ago and Pakistanis who went out of their way to support them appear to be ‘idiots’. They have adopted foreign policy to suit their national interests, and Pakistan continues to support the policy, which they have abandoned and get animosity of Israel. Is there any logic in that?

Moreover Pakistan has a ‘principled’ stand over Kashmir. What these countries have done to support Pakistan.

1. They all have political, diplomatic and good economical links with India.

2. At times these countries pay lip service in support of Pakistan without endangering their political, diplomatic and economical interests. Is it not possible for Pakistan to learn from this?
What should Pakistan do

1. Support them but at the same time have diplomatic, trade and may be military links with Israel, and see how Pakistani interest can be protected and enhanced.

2. By doing this Pakistan would benefit immensely, at least Israeli opposition to Pakistan would be neutralised. And this itself will go long way to protect Pakistani national interest

3. As it is clear, this act would not be in the interest of Pakistan government, but one should see what is in the long interest of Pakistan, rather than the government.

4. By becoming friendly, Pakistan may have more chances of influencing over Palestine and other issues.

No government in the past had courage, necessary control or the will to take such decision. It seems that this government has the courage and nerve to take unpopular decisions. It has full control over the levers of powers and can take the necessary decision. If this government, for whatever reason, did not take much needed decision then it would be years before any other government could even dare to think about it.

National interest of Pakistan demands that the following two matters are resolved as soon as possible:
v Resolution of the Kashmir dispute
v Recognition of Israel
Writer is a Chairman of JKLF Diplomatic Committee, and author of many books and booklets on Kashmir.

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