Could Bangladesh Join Other Muslim Countries in Breaking the Taboo on Relations with Israel?

Until recently, Bangladeshi passports bore the words “This passport is valid for all the countries of the world except Israel.” But newly issued identification documents dropped the text, fueling speculation that Bangladesh might be the next Muslim country to normalize relations with Jerusalem—despite the fact that the country’s laws still forbid travel to the Jewish state. Mike Wagenheim writes:

Economic and military cooperation is believed to be ongoing between the two countries, regardless of official diplomatic status. Multiple media reports indicate that Bangladesh has purchased Israeli military-grade technology, and the World Bank’s World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) database showed that between 2010 and 2018, Israel imported products worth around $333.74 million that originated from Bangladesh. WITS data show that Israeli exports eventually making their way to Bangladesh stood at $3.67 million between 2009 and 2015.

Despite the lack of ties today, Israel was an early supporter of Bangladesh during its war of independence from Pakistan in the early 1970s and was one of the first nations to recognize independent Bangladesh. Nevertheless, the country’s original leaders shunned Israel in favor of the PLO leader Yasir Arafat, who had sided with Pakistan.

[The pro-Israel journalist Salah Uddin Shoaib] Choudhury faced charges of sedition, treason, blasphemy, and espionage in part for attempting to attend a conference of the Hebrew Writers’ Association in Tel Aviv in 2004. He was beaten, jailed in solitary confinement for seventeen months, and denied medical treatment.

However, one of Bangladesh’s most revered war heroes was Jewish. Lieutenant General Jack Farj Rafael Jacob, an officer in the Indian army, played a crucial role in negotiating the surrender of Pakistan in Dhaka during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

Read more at JNS

More about: Bangladesh, Israel diplomacy, Jewish-Muslim Relations, Yasir Arafat

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