If Saudi Arabia Can Make Peace with Israel, Why Not Pakistan?

July 14 2022

At the World Economic Forum in Davos in May, the Israeli president, Isaac Herzog, met with a group of expatriate Pakistanis. After knowledge of the meeting became public, there was a storm of outrage in Pakistan, and a journalist was fired by the government-sponsored broadcasting company for visiting the Jewish state. There is little reason, however, that Islamabad and Jerusalem should not have diplomatic relations. Ameena Tanvir writes:

As countries in the Gulf have started normalizing their relationships with Israel, Pakistan has the chance to revisit its own policy. Recognition from countries like Bahrain, the UAE, and Morocco—and Saudi Arabia’s expansion of secretive talks with Israel—could provide more impetus for Islamabad to present its case of Israeli recognition to a skeptical domestic audience.

In the long-term, if Pakistan becomes more isolated in its position on Israel, [this isolation] could also alter its historically warm ties with Gulf states . . . like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. As important economic partners, and home for many in Pakistan’s diaspora and migrant-worker population, these countries have more leverage to push Pakistan towards recognition.

Through extending recognition, Pakistan can also benefit from Israel’s state-of-the-art military hardware, such as attack helicopters, which Pakistan needs for its counterterrorism operations in Baluchistan and its northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan. Because of the U.S.’s reluctance to sell military hardware to Pakistan and the inferior quality of Chinese defense equipment, Islamabad has been looking for new defense partners to maintain rough conventional parity with India. Israel, as a growing defense exporter, could fulfill some of Pakistan’s defense requirements.

Read more at South Asian Voices

More about: Abraham Accords, Pakistan


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy