Meher Azeem Hakro
Bahrain has become the fourth Arab country to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel. A few days ago, US President Donald Trump had said that it was possible that another country would soon join the diplomatic deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. He did not name the country that would be included in the deal. He also predicted that Saudi Arabia would eventually accept the deal. Now Mr. Trump wrote on twitter, adding: “Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain agree to a Peace Deal.” Bahrain has also made its official statement that it is moving towards normalization with Israel. Both Israel and Bahrain will exchange embassies, open direct flights between their countries, and launch co-operation initiatives across a wide range of sectors. Undoubtedly, this development of Bahrain is considered a great achievement of Mr. Trump. On September 15, US President Donald Trump will hold a signing ceremony for a diplomatic agreement to normalize relations between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, to which world dignitaries have been invited. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan will lead their respective delegations at the event. Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdul Latif al-Zayani will also take part in signing the agreement with Israel. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have agreed to allow Israeli airplane to use their airspace following a normalization agreement, which was seen as an important step in warm relations. Although Saudi Arabia has not acted on the UAE’s move to establish formal ties with Israel, it has only allowed Israeli flights to the UAE to pass through its airspace. The Saudi government has not commented on whether Saudi ambassador or other Saudi representatives will attend the signing ceremony at the White House. However, there is no indication that it is ready to follow Bahrain and the UAE. Saudi Arabia, a regional power player, is still silent on the deal. The new diplomatic relationship between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel has prompted other Arab countries to reconsider their relationship with the Jewish state and work with the changing dynamics of power in the region. Several other Muslim countries, including Sudan, Oman, and Morocco are thought to be considering closer ties with Israel, but have not indicated they intend to join the normalization drive soon. Last week Palestine presented a draft in Arab League for condemning the UAE-Israel normalization agreement and Arab League rejected the draft. So Palestine failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn the usual deal. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas have also condemned the Israeli-Bahraini agreement. Pakistan should make a thoughtful decision on this issue which is in the interest of the country and the nation. Just as the Arab countries are negotiating a common agreement based on their own interests, Pakistan should also consider its national interest first. Therefore, Pakistan does not need to rush into recognizing Israel. The need of the hour is that Pakistan should be cautious on this issue. Pakistan should wait and see what position the Arab countries and the Arab League take in the future. The political stance of other Muslim countries in the world should also be critically examined so that we can make the right decision in the interest of our country. However, Pakistan’s clear position has been that it will not recognize Israel unless a Palestinian state is acceptable to the Palestinians.
(-The writer is a studying M.Sc in Defence and Strategic Studies Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.)