The last days of the Donald Trump presidency, which are likely to last until January 20, 2021, seem yet to be embroiled into more drama, as if the COVID-19 pandemic was not enough to turn it into a moon harvest for Israel.
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Trump endorsed the ‘deal of the century’ which was nothing but the ‘annexation plan’ of the West Bank in Palestine, and which has been stalled only temporarily.
Trump made the UAE bend down before the US, while Bahrain was made to kneel and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is about to prostrate before Israel. All this may happen ‘even before or maybe after for sure’, when Joseph Biden takes over, with a threat from Israel, which is hell-bent on scuttling any nuclear deal with Iran.
But, who knows, before January 2021 there could be an outright US-Israel-KSA-UAE war on Iran as Israel forces have been put on a high alert.
The political center of ‘sensitivity’ is around Pakistan, more exactly since August 6, 2020, when its foreign minister signaled the country’s ‘distancing’ from KSA over the issue of Kashmir, and eight days later, the UAE went ahead to normalize its relations with Israel.
However, Pakistan is yet to convene a summit involving Malaysia, Turkey, and Iran as a ‘mark of departure’ from the KSA-sponsored Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), despite being forced to return the remaining part of the $3-billion loan to Saudi Arabia.
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The pressure is mounting on Pakistan to accept Israel, as Pakistan PM Imran Khan spoke about it too very recently, but there are fresh reports that offers have been made to Imran Khan to meet Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu, or it could be a clandestine meeting between foreign ministers or intelligence chiefs of the two countries.
They could follow the modus operandi by Netanyahu and Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, who sent their top officials to initiate secret negotiations, which later became public.
The Pakistan media has already started a campaign to embrace Israel. A journalist from Pakistan, Mubashir Luqman, went gaga over Israel while talking to the Israeli news channel i24News on November 18, 2020, which is available on YouTube.
He claimed to have asked Imran Khan about a year back that Pakistan should be friends with Israel. In his interview, he lauded Israel as being not just a dream but a reality and that the Israeli nation is a great nation, like Pakistan.
Luqman had been a minister in the Pervez Musharraf government, whose foreign minister Khursheed Kasuri had met Israel counterpart Silvan Shalom in 2005. Another senior journalist from Pakistan Kamran Khan, of Dunya News, took to Twitter on November 23, 2020, seeking a ‘revisit’ of Pakistan’s policy towards Israel.
This has definitely created a ruckus in international politics as it was construed that it may have been the Pakistan establishment that was behind the generation of this new narrative.
If Pakistan tends to go ahead with it, the first alarm bells are going to ring in its brotherly ally, Turkey, whose president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, had addressed a joint session of Pakistan parliament in February 2020, and had endorsed the Pakistan sentiment on Kashmir, something for which he had long antagonized India.
The move of Pakistan will definitely put its relationship with Turkey in jeopardy, and thereafter, Pakistan may find Kashmir as a long-lost cause, as its conflict over Kashmir vis-a-vis India is synonymous with the Palestine conflict with Israel. Palestine’s capital Jerusalem is what Turkey intends to reclaim, as it was from the Ottoman Turkish empire that the British had carved out Israel in 1948.
Pakistan has since its beginning supported Palestine, and India, too, supported Palestine for 45 years, but in January 1992, under Congress party PM PV Narsimha Rao, it allowed an Israel embassy in New Delhi.
A few months before December 1992, while Rao was at the helm, Babri Masjid was demolished. The issue of Arab states’ love affair with Israel will pale into insignificance, perhaps, very soon, as the real objective of Israel is to demolish Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and make a Solomon Temple on it.
Already, there is a report in a KSA news outlet Okaz, that Al Aqsa mosque is not in Jerusalem, for which Muslims had waged wars and prayed in, but actually in Ju’ ranah, 18 miles from Mecca, wrote Morocco World News, on November 16, 2020.
Meanwhile, as ANI News on November 26, 2020, discloses, Israel is ready to arm India ‘to the teeth’ as the latter is to procure Israeli Heron drones worth Rs 500 crore to confront the security challenge from China and Pakistan.
India’s ties with both of the neighbors aggravated since India’s PM Narendra Modi on August 5, 2019, scrapped Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, which gave it special status.
How things turn out to be in the future will depend largely on Biden’s swearing-in, and partly on how the Coronavirus pandemic shapes the new global challenges.
The writer is a former State Information Commissioner, India. He is a media analyst and writes on international affairs.