Why Pakistan Would Benefit from Establishing Diplomatic Ties with Israel

Since its creation—only a year before Israel—Pakistan has not had normal relations with the Jewish state. Islamabad has justified this policy on the grounds that friendliness toward Israel would anger its Arab allies, or constitute moral callousness toward Palestinians, or violate Islam. To Saad Hafiz, such rationales are invalid or moot:

[O]ne wonders what strategic benefit Pakistan derives by keeping overtures to Israel on hold in order to curry favor with the Arab world. . . . Since the early years, our brotherly Arabs have treated Pakistan with a mixture of condescension and derision. Initially, Pakistan was labeled a Western lackey and an opponent of Arab nationalism. More recently, rich Arab states have treated Pakistan as a poor relation constantly begging for aid. Also, many Arab states are themselves lining up to establish ties with a militarily and economically strong Israel.

[Moreover], Pakistan is not in a position to . . . influence the resolution of the Palestinian dispute. It is illogical for Pakistan to wait for the complicated situation in the Middle East to resolve itself before establishing a relationship with Israel. . . . There is no conflict between Pakistan’s interests and Israel’s.

We should expect the standard resistance from the Islamist lobby long opposed to a dialogue with Israel on “moral” grounds. We are bound to hear about an American-Jewish conspiracy to entice Pakistan away from the Islamic and Palestinian cause. Stirring the religious beast onto the streets is avoided by governments in Pakistan. It requires inspired and visionary leadership to take on the political risks for opening new diplomatic horizons for Pakistan.

Pakistan needs to reshape its foreign policy in the post-9/11 era. To take advantage of the changing geopolitical situation in the region, Pakistan must develop a multi-pronged approach. Balancing ties with the Muslim world and Israel can maximize Pakistan’s interests. Israel may also see the benefit of an economic partnership with Pakistan, without compromising its burgeoning strategic relationship with India.

Read more at Daily Times

More about: Israel diplomacy, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Pakistan

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security