Pakistan PM says no recognition of Israel until agreement with Palestinians

Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan will not recognize Israel until there is a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

al-monitor Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the legislative assembly in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, on Aug. 5, 2020, to mark the one-year anniversary after New Delhi imposed direct rule on Indian-administered Kashmir. Photo by AFP via Getty Images.

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normalization, israeli-palestinian conflict, pakistan, imran khan

Nov 13, 2020

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has hinted that the South Asian country is being pressured to recognize Israel. However, according to him, Pakistan has no plans to establish relations with the Jewish state.

In an interview with a Pakistani television station on Thursday, Khan dodged a question on whether Pakistan is being pressured by Muslim states to establish relations with Israel.

“Leave this. There are things we cannot say. We have good relations with them,” Khan reportedly said.

The Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency reported that the question was in reference to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have strong relations with Pakistan. The UAE established relations with Israel in September. Saudi Arabia has yet to take any such steps, but it opened its air space to Israeli planes following the UAE-Israel deal and agrees with Israel on issues pertaining to Iran.

Khan reportedly said Pakistan will not recognize Israel sans a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to which the Palestinians agree.

“I have no second thought to recognize Israel unless there is a just settlement that satisfies Palestinians,” he said.

Khan’s remarks were picked up by several Middle Eastern news outlets, including Iranian state media. The Palestinian Information Center ran an article headlined, “Khan: friendly states are pressuring Pakistan to recognize Israel."

Pakistan is important for several Middle Eastern states in addition to those in the Gulf. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visited Islamabad this week and met with Khan.

Pakistan’s neighbor and main geo-strategic rival India has developed close relations with Israel under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.