A debate starts in Pakistan after every few years that it should start normalization of relations with Israel
Although, every government claims that it doesn’t want it but backdoor diplomacy continues towards recognition of Israel
What do Palestinians think about Pakistani recognition of Israel? This is a continuous issue as this debate begins during every new government in Pakistan. In President Musharraf’s era, he was a staunch supporter of this cause. However, Palestinians consider Pakistan and its nationals as their most important allies globally.
Recently, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi stated that Islamabad will not and cannot recognize or normalize relations with Israel. It is until a concrete and permanent solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is found.
The statement came after persistent speculative media reports and commentaries that Pakistan will be next country to normalize ties with Israel. Most of the news sources are from the Israeli media and then the other media.
Palestinian Reaction to Pakistan’s Recognition of Israel
Palestinians received this news as a surprise. Pakistani people and their government have always supported the Palestinian rights. “We only see this news on the Israeli media so it may be like balloon test to the Pakistani people and their allies.” said researcher Nehal Ahmad. “Recently, some Muslim countries have normalized relations with Israel. Yet, they rejected these rumors and reports of relations were rejected by them earlier. We were taken by surprise when they announced their deals,” she explained.
Since Pakistan’s recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organization as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people and the inauguration of its embassy in the 1970s, about 50,000 Palestinian students graduated from Pakistani universities in various disciplines who contribute to building the institutions of the Palestinian state. Pakistan, with its distinguished academic reputation, continues to attract annually more students to study there.
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Ali Fihmi, 26 says “I graduated from the Pakistani university, and I know its people very well.” He added that the people are so dedicated and passionate about the Palestinian cause. He expects a revolution in Pakistan against the government if such a decision takes place.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas praised the position of Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. He further added that this is not new to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, leadership, government, people and history and that they are supporters to the Palestinians legitimate rights.
Views of Hamas and Islamic Jihad
In interviews to Factfile, Hazem Qasem, the spokesperson of Hamas Movement in Gaza comments on the latest statement by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. He says that Hamas values and appreciates his statement and that rejecting the normalization is in the interest of Pakistan, and the Palestinian cause as well. Similarly, Dawood Shehab, Islamic Jihad spokesperson affirms that the Pakistani people are strong and steadfast supporters for Palestinians and this was so clear in their massive supportive actions.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Mr. Qureshi shared that there is pressure from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and other Gulf states on Pakistan to recognize Israel. However, he made clear to his Emirati counterpart about how deep are the feelings and emotions of Pakistani people towards Palestine and Kashmir.
Although, some Palestinians have strong fear that Pakistan may accept to establish ties with Israel due to UAE or Saudi Arabia’s pressure. Yet, there are people who think that it would be impossible owing to Pakistan’s leading role for Palestinian cause.