Recognizing Israel, what will it mean for Pakistan?

The only beneficiaries of the deal would be Israel, the United States, and, to an extent, India. The recognition would prove to be a development in Israel’s quest for complete sovereignty it longs for.

The foremost challenge for a newly independent state is to seek its sovereignty. The prevailing Westphalian system spells out that a state needs to be accepted by internationally accepted sovereign nation-states to be designated as a sovereign nation-state. According to most political thinkers, a state is considered legitimately sovereign only if other states validate its existence. Most sovereign states are both de jure and de facto, that is, they exist both in law and in reality. Most sovereign states have a defined territory. They have normal diplomatic ties with international bodies. But, Israel is not among most states, and that it is “not a dream but reality” is a substantial war of words.

Israel lacks the features most sovereign states boast, particularly unanimous recognition. Its quest for identification began right after its independence.

Pakistan and Israel are the only two states that have been created for people belonging to specific religions. Zionism refers to the political movement that advocated a homeland for Jewish people. The Two-Nation theory refers to the political ideology that saw Muslims as distinct from Hindus and advocated a separate homeland for Muslims of British India. Theoretically, the resemblance between Zionism and Two-Nation theory is uncanny. Where the ideologies find an echo, however, the means pursued for ends are at odds. Israel’s creation is a story of annexation and seizure. On the contrary, Muhammad Ali Jinnah won fair and square.



The only beneficiaries of the deal would be Israel, the United States, and, to an extent, India. The recognition would prove to be a development in Israel’s quest for complete sovereignty it longs for.

United in rejecting Israel

Presently, different yet similar points of view predominate among different intellectual groups of Pakistan. The difference lies mainly in the reasons that different groups produce on the Israel recognition quandary. However, boycotting the idea of recognizing Israel finds them united on the issue. The cloth views Israel as its sworn enemy. A general trend suggests that this group is nowhere near accepting the Jewish occupation in Palestine. On the other hand, civil society is not so adamant on the idea of not recognizing Israel rather emphasizes the cessation of atrocities in Palestine and its occupied territory.

A third, more favorable and productive stance is that of recognition only after the two-state solution of Israel and Palestine has been achieved.

Read more: Breaking the ice: Israel-UAE hockey match makes history

Another option would be to accept Israel and champion for free Palestine at the same time. An analyst is calling this ‘compartmentalization’. By taking on this option, Pakistan is likely to lose every last bit of influence it might have over Israel because Israel adores the idea of recognition by any state. Like the UAE, other Arab countries are being called hypocrites for adopting this stance. This so-called compartmentalization would imprint a tag of hypocrisy all over Pakistan.

The domino effect of normalizing Israel

Many news networks are claiming that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman wants the normalization process to be customary in international affairs before finally normalizing KSA’s ties with Israel. After PM Imran Khan admitted on TV, it has become a fact that Pakistan is being pressurized to recognize Israel. This potential acknowledgment is seen as a baby step for a leapfrogging ahead. Pakistan could act as an agent of a domino effect that would follow after Pakistan’s inceptive act of recognition of Israel. The other dominoes include other Muslim states. This makes Pakistan the prime figure in the upcoming important developments of geopolitics.

Rather than feeling pressurized, Pakistan should actualize its upper hand in this situation. Pakistan could decide the fate of legitimacy of Israel by the capacity of acceptance it holds over it. The infallible architecture of diplomacy could provide Pakistan leverage over Israel. An alliance of Pakistan with the Muslim world and its combined tenacious foreign policy can even open a forum for a two-state solution that the Quaid had envisaged.




Israel lacks the features most sovereign states boast, particularly unanimous recognition. Its quest for identification began right after its independence.

It is now dependent on Pakistan’s foreign policy whether it uses its position in its favor or bows down in servility.

In its normalization process with Israel, UAE has conditioned a just settlement of Palestine. However, the condition was not the most highlighted part of the deal, which indicates that the status quo is expected to be maintained. For Palestinians, it was a “stab in the back”. UAE and other Muslim-majority states have waived a great opportunity for using their influence over Israel to favor their Palestinian brethren.

Recognizing Israel mean recognizing atrocities

Acceptance of Israel would signify the acceptance of every unjust event and illegality Pakistan has ever opposed. Human rights violations, illegal annexations, ceasefire violations, etc. are some of the many contraventions taking place in occupied parts of Palestine. It would deprive the Palestinians of their right to a just settlement. It would also cause a setback for Pakistan’s credibility on international forums as it has rejected accepting Israel on multiple occasions. Even if the out-of-the-question event occurs, Pakistan will be met with yet another dilemma: whether to send a diplomatic mission to Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. The latter is the de facto capital of Israel after the ‘Deal of the Century’, but still highly reprimanded in the Muslim world.

In the long run, Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir and Kashmiris’ right to self-determination is likely to be sapped. During recent years, Pakistan has directed its foreign policy to get the ear of the international society on the Indian transgression in Kashmir. How can a state accept illegal occupation (recognizing Israel) abroad while rejecting the same at home? This and a number of questions on Pakistan’s reputation as a state shall be placed if the unlikely yet possible event happens.

Read more: Does recognising Israel mean giving up on Kashmir?

The only beneficiaries of the deal would be Israel, the United States, and, to an extent, India. The recognition would prove to be a development in Israel’s quest for complete sovereignty it longs for. The US has its own gains by granting a unanimous recognition to Israel. While at home, Donald Trump could not deliver up to satisfaction of the American people, however, he bags numerous achievements externally, including the recent Abraham Accords. Due to strong Indo-Israel and Indo-US ties, it is unrealistic that the US or Israel will ever ally with Pakistan on the Kashmir issue. The only possible advantage Pakistan could get is a pat on the back and quite possibly the traditional aid from the US.

Palestinians, on the other hand, remain the biggest loss-bearers in all cases.

The author is a Telecommunication Engineer and a scholar of history and politics. He can be reached at naumanahmadbhatti@gmail.com. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

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