Pakistan army’s spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor Wednesday (Sept 4) categorically denied rumors regarding the establishment of relations between Pakistan and Israel.
Addressing a press conference in Islamabad General Ghafoor said rumors such as these are spread as part of ‘fifth-generation warfare’.
“We are the only country in the world whose passport refuses entry to Israel; we have had this stance for the past 70 years,” he said, adding that any change in this policy would be a “political decision”.
There were persistent rumors about establishing relations with Israel since Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to Washington in July 2019. According to the Saudi newspaper Arab News, Imran Khan-President Trump meeting was arranged by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman through his personal friend Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who is pushing Israeli agenda in the Trump administration.
More recently the rumors intensified when the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published a story on Tuesday (Sept 3) under the title “Is Pakistan Preparing to Recognize Israel?”
“With Pakistan reaffirming its status as Saudi Arabia’s newest client state during Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to Islamabad earlier this year, and the US using the financial bailout carrot to push Pakistan into complying with Washington’s interests in the region, the conditions required to make a formal move on Israel are there,” Ha’aretz said.
“Although tentative steps towards ties with Israel will likely have to wait till Saudi Arabia formalizes relations with Israel, given how that particular relationship is developing so swiftly, coupled with Washington and Riyadh pushing for the isolation of Iran,”Haaretz said.
The Haaretz story suggested that “Prime Minister Imran Khan and his military backers are giving unprecedented freedom to a highly-censored media to talk about establishing relations with Israel…..are conditions now ripe for a formal move?”
Political observers in Pakistan and elsewhere wondered why there is a systematic campaign in media to establish relations with Israel. Is this a conspiracy to destabilize Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government which has launched a campaign against the corrupt leaders of the two main political parties who ruled and bankrupted the country in their more than three decades rule?
At present two former prime ministers and one former President are in prison for graft. Many more politicians were expected to be arrested for mega corruption and stealing money in billions of US dollars and investing abroad.
Every Pakistani knows that the nation will not accept establishing relations with Israel unless major Arab country Saudi Arabia overtly recognize Israel.
Tellingly, many Israeli officials/writers and think tanks have been working on Pakistan-Israel relations.
In October 2007, former Israeli diplomat Moshe Yegar wrote in Jewish Political Studies Review:
“Since Israel’s establishment in May 1948, Pakistan, being a Muslim country, has refused to establish diplomatic relations with it. The agreements that Israel signed with Egypt in 1978, the PLO in 1993, and Jordan in 1994 brought no change in Pakistan’s policy. However, Israeli and Pakistani officials maintained clandestine contacts over the years.
“The main reasons for Pakistan’s policy toward Israel are: (1) religious solidarity with the Arab-Muslim countries; (2) fear of an adverse response by radical Islamist groups throughout the Muslim world; and (3) concern that establishing diplomatic relations with Israel may cause instability within Pakistan. Pakistan’s political and military leaders have always striven to get along with its radical clergy and likely will remain committed to the country’s Muslim identity.
“Only significant progress in relations between Israel and the Arab states could lead to a change in Pakistan’s position,” Moshe Yegar concluded.
The Israeli Connection
Political analyst Dr. Shahid Masood said on Saturday (August 17) as India and Pakistan are edging towards a military confrontation. We don’t name another entity in the equation that is Israel, which has strategic relations with India. “Israel has participated in India-Pakistan military confrontation in February this year,” he said.
It may be recalled that an Indian Air Force aircraft was shot down by Pakistan and the captured pilot was immediately repatriated to India by Pakistan as a goodwill gesture. At that time there were rumors that an Israeli pilot was also captured.
India and Israel have increased co-operation in military and intelligence ventures since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1992. In July 2017, Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Earlier, in September 2014, after meeting with Modi in New York, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Jerusalem Post “… sky is the limit” for relations between the two countries.
On Netanyahu’s visit to India in January 2018 Harsh V. Pant, Head of Strategic Studies Program at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, wrote that there is now domestic consensus in India that strong ties with Israel are essential for Indian national-security interests.
Israel has now become an important defense supplier for India. The two countries signed an air- and missile-defense deal worth almost $2 billion in April 2017 in what Israel termed the “largest defense contract deal” in its history.
According to Hindustan Times, Israel is among the top three to four arms suppliers to India with sales ranging from Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) and Searcher, Heron and Harop UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) to Aerostat and Green Pine radars, Barak anti-missile defense and several types of missiles and laser-guided bombs.
In November 2017, India participated in the Blue Flag exercise in Uvda Air Force Base in southern Israel for the first time, where it sent its elite Garud Commando Force and a Hercules C-130J plane from its “Veiled Vipers” Squadron. Indian and Israeli special forces conducted a range of tactical joint exercises, which included protection of strategic assets, ground infiltration and evacuation.
The mandated role of Garud Commando Force, whose motto – ‘Defense by Offence’ – matches closely with the task assigned to the special units of the Israeli Air Force.
Tellingly, in 2003, Rediff reported that in September 1968, when the Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) was founded with Rameshwar Nath Kao at its helm, the then-prime minister Indira Gandhi asked him to cultivate Israeli intelligence agency Mossad.
Israel-India plan to attack Pakistan’s nuclear facilities
After successfully destroying Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981, Israelis planned a similar attack on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities at Kahuta in collusion with India in the 1980s. Using satellite pictures and intelligence information, Israel reportedly built a full-scale mock-up of Kahuta facility in the Negev Desert, where pilots of F-16 and F-15 squadrons practiced mock attacks.
According to ‘The Asian Age’, journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark stated in their book ‘Deception Pakistan, the US and the Global Weapons Conspiracy’, that Israeli Air Force was to launch an air attack on Kahuta in mid-1980s from Jamnagar airfield in Gujarat (India). The book claims that “in March 1984, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi signed off (on) the Israeli-led operation bringing India, Pakistan and Israel to within a hair’s breadth of a nuclear conflagration.”
Another report claims that Israel also planned an air strike directly out of Israel. After midway and midair refueling, Israeli warplanes planned to shoot down a commercial airline’s flight over Indian Ocean that flew into Islamabad early morning, fly in a tight formation to appear as one large aircraft on radar screens preventing detection, use the drowned airliner’s call sign to enter Islamabad’s air space, knock out Kahuta and fly out to Jammu to refuel and exit.
According to reports in mid-1980s this mission was actually launched one night. But the Israelis were in for a big surprise. They discovered that Pakistan Air Force had already sounded an alert and had taken to the skies in anticipation of this attack. The mission had to be hurriedly aborted.
Pakistan reminded the Israelis that Pakistan was no Iraq and that PAF was no Iraqi Air Force. Pakistan is reported to have conveyed that an attack on Kahuta would force Pakistan to lay waste to Dimona, Israel’s nuclear reactor in the Negev Desert. India was also warned that Islamabad would attack Trombay power plant if Kahuta facilities were hit.
The above-quoted book claims that “Prime Minister Indira Gandhi eventually aborted the operation despite protests from military planners in New Delhi and Jerusalem.”
McNair’s paper #41 published by USAF Air University (India Thwarts Israeli Destruction of Pakistan’s “Islamic Bomb”) also confirmed this plan. It said, “Israeli interest in destroying Pakistan’s Kahuta reactor to scuttle the ‘Islamic bomb’ was blocked by India’s refusal to grant landing and refueling rights to Israeli warplanes in 1982.” Clearly India wanted to see Kahuta gone but did not want to face retaliation at the hands of the Pakistan Air Force. Israel, on its part, wanted this to be a joint Indo-Israeli strike to avoid being solely held responsible.
Not surprisingly, Israel rejects these authentic reports as conspiracy theories.
Pakistan has seen growing India-Israel ties “within the master blueprint for the region and within the framework of the Zionist-Brahmin machinations against Pakistan and Islam.”
Islamabad’s The Muslim newspaper wrote an editorial on Israeli President Weizman’s visit to India in late December 1996 saying:
“The visit signifies the increasingly close relations between India and the Zionist entity and their long-term planning to work together against Islam and the Muslim Third World. For many years the Indians cheated the once-strong Arabs by denying close cooperation with the Jews …. it becomes abundantly clear that the Indians while feigning friendship with the Arabs were in fact stabbing them in the back.
… the Zionists can do anything and violate all norms and laws since Uncle Sam would always look the other way and since the laws and norms are to be only used against the Muslims and the weak. Therefore, both India and Israel are allowed to violate human rights, commit naked aggressions against their neighbors, expand and even steal US technology. These are acceptable to the Americans as long as the Muslims are the target of such policies. The Indian-Israeli axis is yet another threat to Pakistan and the entire Muslim world. It seeks to further devastate the Muslims and subjugate them.”
The editorial further warned that Weizman’s visit was “within the master blueprint for the region and within the framework of the Zionist-Brahmin machinations against Pakistan and Islam.”
What David Ben Gurion said about Pakistan?
Pakistanis also recalled comments of Israel’s founder David Ben Gurion about Pakistan. In 1967 The Jewish Chronicle quoted Ben Gurian as saying on Pakistan:
“The world Zionist movement should not be neglectful of the dangers of Pakistan to it. And Pakistan now should be its first target, for this ideological state is a threat to our existence. And Pakistan, the whole of it, hates the Jews and loves the Arabs. This lover of the Arabs is more dangerous to us than the Arabs themselves. For that matter, it is most essential for the world Zionism that it should now take immediate steps against Pakistan.”
Ben Gurion was further quoted, as saying, “Whereas the inhabitants of the Indian peninsula are Hindus whose hearts have been full of hatred towards Muslims, therefore, India is the most important base for us to work from against Pakistan. It is essential that we exploit this base and strike and crush Pakistanis, enemies of Jews and Zionism, by all disguised and secret plans.”
Following Israel’s declaration of independence, its first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, sent a telegram to the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, in a bid to establish diplomatic relations. There was no reply.
Beyond the Veil: Israel-Pakistan Relations
In March 2000, Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies of Tel Aviv University published an in depth 83 page study ‘Beyond the Veil: Israel-Pakistan Relations’ saying:
Whenever Pakistan recognizes and establishes relations with Israel, it will not be the first Islamic country to do so. Since it has no direct disputes with Israel, Pakistan is not under any compulsion to seek a “cold peace” with Israel, and therefore has several options to choose from.
- The Turkish model: Pakistan can recognize Israel without establishing diplomatic relations immediately.
- The Iranian model: It can follow the precedent set by the Shah of Iran and recognize the Jewish state, but maintain its relationship under wraps.
- The Jordanian model: It can imitate the Jordanians and maintain close political as well as military relations with the Jewish state without granting any official recognition.
- The Chinese model: It can adopt the Chinese example and view military contacts as a means of promoting political relations.
However, Pakistan army’s spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor’s categorical statement on Wednesday has affirmed that Pakistan is not establishing relations with Israel in the near future.