Pakistan and Israel never had a good diplomatic relationship. In 1947, the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah voted against the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine. Pakistan has still not recognized Israel for critical reasons. Even a Pakistani passport is invalid for travelling to Israel. Why has Pakistan not recognized Israel? What will happen if Pakistan accepts Israel? There is no simple answer to that. One must have a deep understanding of the various facts about both countries to be able to answer these questions.
Pakistan and Israel do not have a friendly history. Since the establishment of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948, Pakistan has not formally recognized the country. This unwavering stance is the result of the interaction of historical, theological, and geopolitical factors.
Pakistan’s historical support for the Palestinian cause is one of the key factors affecting its position in Israel. Pakistan, like other countries with a Muslim majority, firmly backed the rights and statehood of the Palestinian people in the early years after Israel’s independence. Pakistan’s foreign policy adopted the Palestinian issue as an icon, underscoring its dedication to the larger pan-Islamic cause.
Pakistan became a member of the UN on September 30, 1947, shortly after its independence from British rule. Pakistan voted against the UN partition plan for Palestine during the 1947 UN General Assembly meeting, which resulted in the creation of Israel. This early opposition served as the foundation for Pakistan’s ongoing non-recognition policy.
Pakistan has consistently held this position, despite the changing nature of international interactions. Important incidents and judgment calls have strengthened this position. In the Yom Kippur War of 1973, also known as the Arab-Israeli War, Pakistan firmly allied itself with Arab states against Israel. Pakistan’s position as a backer of the Arab government’s stance on the Palestinian issue was solidified by this military confrontation.
Pakistan’s position toward Israel has been significantly influenced by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC is a global group that promotes the interests of the Muslim world, and Pakistan is a member. Pakistan has maintained its anti-Israel attitude in line with the OIC’s position as an active member of the organization, which has constantly backed the Palestinian cause.
Why Pakistan Should Accept Israel?
Pakistan has refused to recognize Israel since its independence. Even though these two countries have never been in direct disputes with each other, Pakistan has always refused to accept Israel because it supported Palestine. There seems to be no possibility of Pakistan accepting Israel even though there are enough reasons to do that. Here are some of the top reasons why Pakistan should accept Israel:
1) Geopolitical Realignment
The logic behind Pakistan’s foreign policy is impacted by shifting geopolitical dynamics and power shifts. The Middle East has seen several transformations, and various Arab countries have changed their views on Israel. The Abraham Accords, which were signed on September 15, 2020, marked a change from the usual Arab opposition toward Israel, leading to the normalization of relations between several Arab nations and the Jewish state. Pakistan might have to reevaluate its position as a result of the changing regional situation. It could better align itself with these shifting geopolitical realities and increase its influence in the area by considering diplomatic relations with Israel.
2) Economic Interests
Recognizing Israel would be beneficial for the commerce, economy, and technology of Pakistan. Particularly in fields like agriculture, water management, and cybersecurity, Israel is famous for its technological breakthroughs. By establishing diplomatic ties, Pakistan’s economic and technical development may benefit from collaboration in these fields. Strengthened business links with Israel could encourage economic expansion, especially in industries where Israeli knowledge could be priceless.
3) International Standing
Pakistan has understood the value of having a variety of diplomatic relations as a country with significant geopolitical influence and a member of the global community. Pakistan wants to present itself as a positive and practical actor in international affairs, and one way to do that is by thinking about its relations with Israel. Reconsidering its position on Israel could improve Pakistan’s reputation on the global stage and even strengthen its position in international organizations and global forums.
4) Energy Security
Pakistan must give serious thought to its energy security. Israel has significant offshore natural gas reserves in the Eastern Mediterranean. In the energy sector, the collaborative discovery of resources or the import of natural gas could be examples of cooperative enterprises that could give Pakistan a reliable and strategic energy source.
Why Pakistan Should Not Accept Israel?
There are plenty of reasons for Pakistan to withhold recognition from Israel.
1) Palestinian Solidarity
Pakistan has a long history of supporting the Palestinian people in their struggle for independence. Accepting Israel will be interpreted as a betrayal of this past commitment and damage Pakistan’s reputation as a supporter of the Palestinian cause. Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that “The situation in Kashmir is the same as in Palestine. If Pakistan accepts Israel, there would be no point in taking a stand for Kashmir”. Pakistan will lose its moral stand if it recognizes Israel and what it has done to Palestine. After the 2023 Hamas attack on Israel, the interim Prime Minister of Pakistan; Anwaar ul Haq Kakar posted on X that he was “heartbroken” by the violence. He stated “We urge restraint and protection of civilians. Enduring peace in the Middle East lies in a two-state solution with a viable, contiguous, sovereign State of Palestine.”
2) Religious Differences
Since Pakistan is primarily a Muslim nation, many Pakistanis attach great religious significance to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israel’s recognition might provoke criticism from the public and possible unrest because it might be seen as disrespecting the population’s religious sensibilities.
3) Regional Dynamics
The Middle East is a dangerous region with complex geopolitical dynamics. It may have negative economic and diplomatic effects on Pakistan’s relations with other Muslim-majority nations, especially those in the Middle East if it aligns itself with Israel. Since Pakistan has always supported Arab countries, any policy change could pose security threats and perhaps engage Pakistan in regional crises that it has so far managed to stay out of. Another major factor in Pakistan not accepting Israel is its trade links with other Muslim nations. If Pakistan accepts Israel, its relationship with other Muslim countries might be affected negatively.
Consequences of Pakistan Embracing Diplomatic Ties with Israel
1) Domestic Reactions
The possibility of Pakistan establishing diplomatic ties with Israel has substantial potential domestic consequences, as it might alter the political climate of the country, elicit responses from political and religious groups, and have varied effects on public opinion and societal attitudes.
Accepting Israel might alter Pakistan’s internal political climate. Political parties would have to take a position on this crucial matter. While some could view it as a chance for practical diplomacy, others might fiercely disagree with the action. The argument can cause political forces to realign and form new political forces.
Government policies and public opinion in Pakistan are significantly influenced by religious and political groupings. There would likely be fierce opposition from some religious organizations if diplomatic connections with Israel are pursued. The frequency of protests, rallies, and open demonstrations could increase, raising the risk of social instability and conflict. As it tries to strike a balance between national interests and religious sensibilities, this could put the administration in a precarious position.
Pakistani society’s perception of Israel’s acceptance would be complex and varied. While certain groups in society could applaud the decision as a step toward realism and international involvement, others might view it as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause and Islamic solidarity. Different elements, such as generational disparities, social background, and religious convictions, may have an impact on public perceptions.
2) Geopolitical Consequences
The establishment of diplomatic relations between Pakistan and Israel would also have significant strategic consequences for the larger Middle East and South Asian regions. With major countries like China and the United States playing crucial roles in determining the outcome, alliances, partnerships, and conflicts may shift significantly.
The changing dynamics in the Middle East may offer both possibilities and consequences. The difficulties of Middle Eastern politics would need to be negotiated by Pakistan as well as regional rivalry. If Pakistan accepts Israel, it might join several Arab countries that have previously established diplomatic ties with Israel. This alignment might result in new coalitions and improved regional cooperation. The contribution of Pakistan to the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians may have far-reaching effects. It might aid in bridging gaps and facilitating discussions, potentially promoting regional stability.
3) Economic and Trade Considerations
There would be both advantages and potential disadvantages to Pakistan’s choice to open diplomatic ties with Israel in terms of the economy. The recognition of Israel would pave the way for more trade between the two nations. Israel is renowned for its defense, agricultural, and high-tech industries. Pakistan may be able to diversify its exports and import vital technologies if it has access to Israeli markets.
Israel is a technological and innovative leader on a worldwide scale. Technology transfer agreements could help Pakistan obtain access to improvements in industries like agriculture, water management, healthcare, and defense. The capacities and competitiveness of Pakistan could be considerably improved by this technological exchange.
On the other hand, Pakistan’s domestic economy may be impacted by boycott movements and public outrage as a result of the decision to normalize relations with Israel. Trade and commercial operations could be disrupted by protests and boycotts of Israeli goods, perhaps resulting in losses.
Pakistan enjoys close trading relations with several Muslim-majority nations in the Middle East. If trade partners decide to scale down their economic collaboration as a result of the formation of relations with Israel, it could have negative economic consequences.
The economic considerations of establishing diplomatic ties with Israel present a dual-edged sword.
While trade, technology transfer, and investments can help Pakistan grow economically, there are also potential risks to consider, such as public backlash and the need to reevaluate current relations with other countries, particularly those in the Middle East and the Muslim world.
4) Security and Defense Cooperation
The potential establishment of diplomatic ties between Pakistan and Israel would inevitably give rise to discussions on security and defense cooperation, offering both opportunities and risks.
Establishing diplomatic ties with Israel might make it easier for the two nations to exchange intelligence. Israel has a strong intelligence network and extensive anti-terrorism expertise. Closer cooperation in this area could improve Pakistan’s capacity to counter threats to regional and internal security. Israel has a history of dealing with security issues, while Pakistan has been actively involved in counterterrorism activities. Joint initiatives to combat terrorism and extremism may result in more successful plans and operations.
The move by Pakistan to work with Israel may cause tensions to rise with Iran and other neighbors. As a result of Pakistan’s support for Israel, which could potentially cause regional problems.
Arms purchases and military cooperation with Israel might be part of a strategic alliance. This would improve Pakistan’s security capabilities, but it might also spark regional arms competitions and escalate hostilities, especially in South Asia, where ties with India are already tense.
The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
Palestine is the main reason why Pakistan has still not recognized Israel. On October 7th, 2023, Hamas (an Islamic Resistance Movement for Palestine) attacked Israel and took them by surprise. Israel cut off electricity, gas, and water from the Palestine region and began to bomb it. The conflict has been going on since and there are no signs of it ending soon. While the bitter rivals of Pakistan; India have chosen to side with Israel, Pakistan has not made a clear statement about the conflict. The country chose to take a softer approach to the matter by expressing its concerns about the escalating matter. This is the first time Pakistan did not directly side with Palestine. In the past, the Islamic country has always stood with Palestine and condemned the killing of innocent people of Palestine.
International Reactions on Pakistan-Israel Diplomatic Ties
If Pakistan decides to open its diplomatic ties with Israel, it would result in shocking reactions from different countries and organizations.
1) Global Powers
The United States has always appreciated and aided countries that establish their diplomatic ties with Israel. Pakistan’s recognition of Israel would be in line with American goals for regional stability, which could result in closer ties between the two countries. The US may offer more financial and diplomatic help as a result of this alignment.
China’s response to the Pak-Israel relationship is crucial because it is Pakistan’s closest friend. China, which emphasizes the significance of regional stability, maintains its connections with Israel and is likely to support Pakistan’s choice. The action may improve China-Pakistan relations and their strategic partnership.
2) Muslim-Majority Nations
Most of the Muslim–majority nations have criticized Israel, therefore it would raise tensions between the countries and Pakistan. It would hurt Pakistan’s relationship with countries like Iran, Yemen, Egypt, etc.
3) International Organizations
Pakistan’s recognition of Israel could affect its position within the United Nations. Pakistan has always supported the Palestinian cause. Establishing diplomatic ties with Israel might change its role in various UN forums and committees.
Pakistan’s choice to recognize Israel would be met with a variety of international reactions and consequences that would have an impact on its foreign policy. It might have an impact on its relationships with neighbors, particularly Iran, as well as boost ties with some friends and possibly modify its standing within international institutions.
What will happen if Pakistan accepts Israel? What could be the possible pros and cons if this happens? It is a very controversial question that requires deep analysis and study to process further. It would have a lot of advantages and disadvantages for Pakistan. It has always rooted for the Palestinian cause. If the country chooses to accept Israel, it would create chaos among the Muslim countries. Considering relations with Israel might also open doors of opportunities for Pakistan. Encompassing geopolitical realignment, economic interests, international standing, peace mediation aspirations, and energy cooperation would be the main motivations behind this relationship.
In this ever-evolving geopolitical landscape, Pakistan’s choice regarding Israel is controversial, but the analysis presented in this article gives readers a thorough knowledge of the potential consequences and complexities of such a diplomatic shift. It highlights how crucial it is to navigate diplomatic waters carefully to protect Pakistan’s interests at home and the stability of the region.
Does Pakistan Accept Israel as a Country?
No, Pakistan has not accepted Israel since its independence. Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan voted against the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine in 1947.
Who Accepted Israel as a Country First?
The United States of America was the first country to recognize Israel on May 14, 1948. Harry Truman was the president at that time who issued a statement of recognition following Israel’s independence.