Israel’s secret message

Shahid Shahnawaz

The writer is poet and journalist.

Prime Minister Imran Khan was busy in meetings with the Saudi leadership during his visit to the Kingdom, visiting the Roza-e-Rasool of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) in Madinah and paying his respects at the Prophet’s Mosque. On the other hand, Israeli forces barged into the Majid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, Islam’s third holiest place of worship, fired stun grenades, and brazenly attacked Palestinian worshippers.

The Israeli attack on Palestinians occurs every year in Ramazan as they pray at the mosque revered by Muslims. But some analysts have linked it as a secret Israeli message to Pakistan. Let us consider what message Israel wants to send to us. It was earlier reported in the media and even acknowledged by the prime minister that there is immense pressure on Pakistan to recognize Israel. Somehow, we refused to cave in from recognizing the Jewish state.

Many countries including Saudi Arabia reportedly pressed Pakistan in favour of Israel, saying that many other Islamic countries have recognized the Jewish state. They chided that our friend Turkey is also one of such countries, then what is the hindrance with the Pakistani nation?

Make no mistake about considering Israel as a weak state as it has a superpower like the United States behind it. The oppressed Palestinians were facing attacks by Israeli forces during prayers, and the US issued a short message in support of Israel. No major country in the world has denounced Israel even though they had an opportunity but decided to toe the line of the US State Department.

Prime Minister Imran Khan also issued a statement while still in Saudi Arabia that Israel has violated all limits of humanity and international laws during Ramazan. He reiterated our support for the Palestine cause and called on the international community to take immediate action for the rights of Palestinians.

Interestingly the prime minister, who was advising the international community to take immediate action, did not issue any message in support of Jammu and Kashmir which is still under illegal Indian occupation. Why did Imran Khan have to issue a statement condemning the Israeli attack? This could easily have been handled by Shah Mehmood Qureshi or the Foreign Office. Perhaps the prime minister also wanted to send a secret message to Israel.

The secret message is simple: Pakistan did not recognize Israel before, nor it does today, nor will it to do in the future. We have stood with the oppressed Palestinians in the past, we stand with them today and we will continue to stand with them.

The economic disadvantages of not recognizing Israel and the benefits of recognition are numerous. For example, the recent resolution in the European Union, the threat of being blacklisted in the FATF, and labelling Pakistan in the international community as a terrorist nation. Israel is the only country that can put pressure on the US to address all these issues and get Pakistan off the hook.

Pakistani nation should never recognize Israel as would be a betrayal of the First Qibla of Muslims and the basic tenets of Islam. Pakistan is right to doing so. Why did Islamic countries recognize Israel? Don’t they care about the sanctity of our sacred sites under occupation? Is Pakistan solely responsible for maintaining all loyalties? There are many questions that Pakistan needs to consider so that the Muslim Ummah can unite for a single cause.

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