Why Pakistan Won’t Be Next to Make Peace with Israel

Sept. 2 2020

Since the United Arab Emirates and Israel announced their normalization of relations, there has been much speculation that other Arab states—and even some non-Arab Muslim countries—will follow suit. But Pakistan, although it has no strategic conflicts with the Jewish state, won’t be one of them. Hussain Nadim explains why:

Pakistan’s policy regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict is a product of the late 1940s and early 1950s when the country was trying to establish itself as an eastern fortress of the Islamic world to mobilize Muslim support against India. This required solidarity with the Arab states that were foremost parties to a conflict with Israel.

The hope in Pakistan was that the Islamic world would reciprocate Pakistan’s support over the Palestine issue by supporting Pakistan’s stand on Kashmir against India. This, however, never happened because, for the Arab world, Palestine was an Arab-Israeli conflict not a Muslim-Jewish one, and Kashmir was a Pakistan-India conflict not a Hindu-Muslim one. . . . Some 72 years on, Pakistan’s policy on the Israel-Palestine conflict is dictated neither by principles nor by interests. It is dictated by inertia.

A key reason for this inertia is the way Pakistan sold the entire Palestine issue domestically through [using] religious sentiment and backing it up with out-of-context Quran verses. . . . Not only did this end up creating an unknown enemy out of the Jewish people, it also gave rise to conspiracy theories of all sorts inside the country that helped the ruling elite sway public opinion in whichever direction benefited their politics. For instance, when the current Prime Minister Imran Khan launched his political career in 1995, he was targeted for being a “Jewish agent” by the ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s right-wing political party.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel diplomacy, Pakistan

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada