“My conscience will never allow me to accept Israel, which is responsible for so many atrocities against the Palestinian people”, states the Pakistani prime minister Imran Khan in an interview. His statement comes as a response to the UAE entering into the Abraham Accords peace agreement with Israel this August, thereby agreeing to normalize relations.
If you are currently a Pakistani citizen, your passport bears an inscription preventing you from travelling to Israel. Additionally, Pakistan has stated that it won’t recognize Israel as a country, and all Israeli passports are also seen as invalid until a resolution has been reached on the Israel-Palestine conflict that provides a just settlement to the Palestinian people.
“Our stance is obvious. It’s something which (Pakistan’s founder) Quaid-e-Azam (Muhammad Ali Jinnah) made clear in 1948 – that we can not accept Israel until Palestinians get their rights as per the two-state solution,” Khan states. He believes that “if [Pakistan accepts] normalization of ties with Israel then [they] would have to give up the Kashmir cause.”
What Khan forgets to mention is that Israel is not the only country responsible for atrocities against the Palestinian people. Khan’s words on Israel, support for Palestine, and criticism of any relationship between Pakistan and Israel are quite hypocritical considering the two countries have worked extensively together previously on a military level and were involved in leading the killing of thousands of Palestinians.
After the creation of Israel in 1948, there was a notable number of Palestinians who had settled down in Jordan. Within the next twenty years they had formed a strong minority and raised the question of an independent Palestine. At the time, the King of Israel, Hussein, feared this group of Palestinians would be a threat to his kingdom and promptly asked for action to be taken against their camps.
Hussein’s order would lead to what is known infamously as “Black September,” where according to Israeli general Moshe Dayan;
“Hussein killed more Palestinians in eleven days than Israel could kill in twenty years.”
So how is Pakistan involved?
It was a Pakistani Brigadier General who led the operation.
Ziaul Haq was a Pakistani general who was placed in Jordan for three years from 1967-1970. He trained Jordanian soldiers and eventually led the systematic killings of 25,000 Palestinians. After leading the operation as commander of the 2nd division, Zia became a trusted figure in Israel. He “was also awarded Jordan’s highest honour for the services rendered.”
Ziaul Haq “also spearheaded the ISI’s intelligence collaboration with Mossad [Israel’s national intelligence agency] and since then Pakistan has continued to work with Israel in terms of “military and intelligence…despite the refusal to formalize relations.” Both countries worked together during the Afghan war and “Israel was one of the most important countries that assisted Pakistan in weapons and training to the Afghan Mujahideen.” Israel also supplied Russian weapons taken from PLO to Pakistan, exported British military technology to Pakistan, and both sides have continued to share intelligence with each other on the Gulf states and India within the past decade. Benazir Bhutto (former Pakistan PM) and Pervez Musharraf (former President of Pakistan) have both previously met with the Israeli emissary, and Musharraf himself has encouraged a formalization of ties between the two countries.
There is a clear alliance between both countries and although never officially declared, both Israel and Pakistan have been working together when it suits them. Imran Khan’s moral conscience and statements against recognizing Israel does not disprove it.