September 1, 2005 6:21 pm
Looks like I wasn’t too far off the mark.
Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told Israel Radio: “We are talking about a tremendous significance, not just in regards to our relations with Pakistan, but the entire Muslim world.”
Mr Shalom told reporters that he hoped the talks would lead to “a full diplomatic relationship with Pakistan as we would like it with all Muslim and Arab countries.” [link]
Pakistan and Israel are the only two truly ideological states in the world. Accordingly, they have certain similarities. Both were founded in the name of religion as (ostensibly) safe havens for religious minorities. Paradoxically, both were founded by liberal, modernist leaders — Ben Gurion and Jinnah — and opposed by the orthodox clergy. Both have radical religious minorities with undue influence over government policies. Both have militaristic societies and high-profile, professional armies. And both are willing American clients.
Why shouldn’t the two have diplomatic relations? The silly concept of ummah forces Pakistanis into being more Palestinian than the Palestinians. Never mind that the PA itself has diplomatic relations with Israel. Of course, nothing precludes a state from being sympathetic to Palestinian grievances and recognizing Israel at the same time. Pakistan would be wise to pursue this course.