Should Pakistan and Israel Establish Diplomatic Ties?
Well, do the analysis subjectively and you will end up saying: No. On the other hand, a fact based, realistic and measurable approach is the key to success in the realm of international politics.
A Quick Reality Check
As of today, 164 out of 193 member countries in the United Nations recognize the state of Israel as an independent state, that includes its arab neighbours Egypt and Jordan. The 1993 Oslo accord, resulted in
recognition of the state of Israel by Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).
Israel has, up to date, established relations with all the major regional and global powers. The Israel lobby influence over US foreign policy and major global monetary and financial institutions should not be a revelation to our valued readers. All this provides Israel the legitimacy and necessary leverage to assert its foreign policy goals with ease.
Israel has successfully tipped balance of power in the Middle East in its favour. It conducts air raids and bombs it’s neighbours at will and there is no stopping to it. Gaza has been termed as an open air prison and people in Gaza strip are living a miserable life. Nearly all countries in Israel’s neighbourhood are struggling with their own acute internal problems. Syria and Palestine are struggling for survival whereas Lebanon is unstable with its complex sectarian fault lines. Egypt and Jordan already have diplomatic ties with Israel and pose no serious threat to its security.
Politics: A Means or an End?
So, why do states establish diplomatic ties or negotiate even with all their mutual differences and hostilities? The answer to this essentially lies in the structure of international system of politics. In the absence of an overarching global government, the international political system is intrinsically ‘anarchic’. This causes every state to be responsible for its own stability and security.
Thus, one of the important foreign policy goals of a state in this increasingly global interdependent environment, is to achieve security and protect its national interests. Diplomacy is a means to achieve these objectives, it is not an end in itself. And Realpolitik is politics or diplomacy based primarily on considerations of given circumstances, rather than explicit ideological notions. All this brings the nation states to talk, negotiate and establish ties even with all their ideological and political differences.
Establishing ties same as accepting Ideologies?
Do we often misinterpret establishing diplomatic ties with accepting ideologies? or are they same? Well, in historical perspective, archrivals have always maintained diplomatic ties or contact even in the harshest of environments. The United States and China established ties in 1971 after almost two decades of hostilities. The Russian federation and United States, despite their historical animosities, have kept and maintained diplomatic relations for centuries.
India and Pakistan, in spite of their historical bitterness over several issues including Kashmir, have continued diplomatic ties for decades. There are other instances where the hostile states did not establish diplomatic ties but kept negotiating at various venues and forums. The US-Iran and North Korea-US negotiations are notable cases in this regard.
Has the Strategy Worked?
It is quite obvious that muslim countries have not been able to isolate Israel. Infact, Israel has established itself very firmly on the regional and global stage. The only visible answer to Israeli oppression has been the occasional and ceremonial condemnation by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
Pakistan, the only muslim country with nuclear power and second largest muslim country by population, has largely been cut off from the Middle East political process. It’s response of Israeli aggressions has mostly been limited to condemnations or press releases from its foreign office with no meaningful gains. If Israel is Pakistan’s enemy in the middle east then who is it’s reliable ally there? Clearly, the strategy has not worked and needs a substantial and meaningful review. It demands a more objective, dispassionate and holistic study of the subject matter.
The question is: Should Pakistan and Israel engage in a dialogue? Ultimately, everything comes to a dialogue table. Why would Israel be interested in such a dialogue? Why wouldn’t it be? As it is fighting for global recognition and right to exist. What would be of interest to Pakistan? Can it decouple Israel from India in case of a serious escalation with the latter? And can it play a meaningful role in the Middle East to bring peace and relief to its population?