Israel policy not under reconsideration, reiterates govt

Published November 24, 2020
FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri speaks at a ceremony. — Twitter/File
FO spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri speaks at a ceremony. — Twitter/File

The Foreign Office on Tuesday reiterated that Pakistan was not reconsidering its Israel policy and said that Prime Minister Imran Khan's "statements in this context have been clear and unequivocal".

In a statement, the FO said that Pakistan "cannot recognise Israel" until a "just settlement of the Palestinian issue" is found.

"For just and lasting peace, it is imperative to have a two-state solution in accordance with relevant United Nations and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation resolutions, with the pre-1967 borders and Al-Quds Al-Sharif as capital of a viable, independent and contiguous Palestinian State," the statement, which was also posted on Twitter, read.

The statement comes a day after bombshell reports emerged of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's meeting with Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi city of Neom. The reports were later denied by Saudi Arabia.

Following the reports, some prominent media personalities wondered if Pakistan too would reconsider its policy pertaining to Israel.

This is the second statement regarding Pakistan's stance on Israel that the FO has issued in a week's time. Earlier, the FO had denied reports that the prime minister had said that the United States was pressurising Pakistan to recognise Israel.

Last week's statement referred to a news report by the Middle East Eye (MEE), which quoted Prime Minister Imran as saying that Pakistan was facing pressure by the US to recognise Israel in the wake of deals between Tel Aviv and several Arab countries but that Islamabad could not take the step "unless there is a just settlement, which satisfies Palestine”.

MEE said that the premier made these remarks “last week” talking to “local media”.

Asked if any Muslim states were applying similar pressure on Pakistan, the PM appeared evasive, saying “there are things we cannot say. We have good relations with them.”

This year, three Arab states including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan have signed pacts with Israel, formally establishing diplomatic relations.

In August, the UAE was the first to sign the pact, brokered by US President Donald Trump. Since then, questions have been raised if Pakistan, being a close ally of the Arab states, would change its stance on Israel.

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