Why Pakistan Won’t Be Israel’s Next Muslim Ally https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2021/01/why-pakistan-wont-be-israels-next-muslim-ally/

January 18, 2021 | Efraim Inbar
About the author: Efraim Inbar is president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS).

With each of the Jewish state’s groundbreaking normalization agreements with countries that previously treated it as a pariah, there has been increased speculation about which Arab or Muslim nation will be next to follow suit. In this vein there have been rumors and discussions about the possibility of diplomatic relations between Jerusalem and Islamabad. Efraim Inbar judges such a development beneficial for both parties, but highly unlikely:

Pakistani-Israeli peace is unlikely because of Pakistani domestic constraints and Islamabad’s foreign-policy orientation. [There] is great opposition to rapprochement with Israel, particularly among various Islamist circles that carry considerable political weight. Moreover, anti-Semitic convictions are widespread in Pakistan. According to a 2019 Pew poll, 74 percent of Pakistanis held unfavorable views of Jews.

Pakistan’s enmity towards Israel is of no real advantage to Pakistan. Arab states have not really supported Pakistan [in its own conflict with India over Kashmir]. By boycotting Israel, Pakistan forfeits much needed Israeli expertise in agriculture, telecommunications, water management, medical services, and high tech. A relationship with Israel also could open doors in Washington, where Pakistan is increasingly under suspicion for cooperation with China and Islamist terrorists.

Nevertheless, Israel would welcome in principle any approach by an important Muslim state such as Pakistan. . . . Israel also has an interest in diluting the religious dimension of conflict in the ethnoreligious Israel-Palestinian conflict. In contrast to the more secular West, Israelis understand the importance of religious matters in politics.

Unfortunately, international politics do not augur well for a near-term improvement in Israel-Pakistan ties. Pakistan is getting closer to Iran, a country whose leadership seeks the destruction of Israel.

Read more on Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security: https://jiss.org.il/en/inbar-why-pakistan-wont-be-next-to-normalize-with-israel/