Thursday, September 1, 2005

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The diplomatic aftereffects of Gaza

According to the Associated Press, Israel is reaping some diplomatic fruit from its Gaza pullout:

The foreign ministers of Israel and Pakistan, a Muslim country that has long taken a hard line against the Jewish state, met publicly for the first time Thursday, a diplomatic breakthrough that follows Israel's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

The meeting in Istanbul was at the initiative of Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and was expected to be followed by confidence building measures, such as a relaxation of Pakistan's ban against travel to the Jewish state, an Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the subject....

Pakistan was encouraged by Israel's evacuation of Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, which was completed last week, and set up the meeting, Israeli officials said.

``There is no conflict whatsoever between Israel and Pakistan and no logical reason why the two countries could not have a constructive and positive bilateral relationship,'' Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said in Jerusalem.

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and his Pakistani counterpart, Khursheed Kasuri, informally met Wednesday night at a dinner in Istanbul, Israeli officials said.

Musharraf, a key U.S. ally in the Indian subcontinent, has been gradually moving toward conciliation with Israel, despite the influence of a powerful Islamic radical party in Pakistan.

The Pakistani president accepted an invitation to address an interfaith conference this month organized by the Council for World Jewry while he is in New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly.

posted by Dan on 09.01.05 at 07:07 AM


How much of the opening of relations between Israel & Pakistan is motivated by the Pakistani sense of unease over the growing military and economic links between Israel & India.

Any thoughts Dan?

posted by: Krishnan on 09.01.05 at 07:07 AM [permalink]

This meeting has less to do with Israelis leaving Gaza, than Pakistan's nervousness over the new India-Israeli relationship. Israel sold India motion-sensors that have been installed along the LOC, which makes infiltration of terrorists more difficult. There has been also a great deal of intelligence sharing between the two. Pakistan is hoping to slow down this partnership, but it may not extend much beyond the meeting of ministers. Pakistanis have adopted the anti-Semitism of the Arabs to demonstrate solidarity with them, despite the fact that most Pakistanis have never even met a Jew.

posted by: KXB on 09.01.05 at 07:07 AM [permalink]

The current issue of The National Interest reviews the India-Israel relationship:

"An Axis of Democracy?"

posted by: KXB on 09.01.05 at 07:07 AM [permalink]

I would have thought this meeting had more to do with intel on India and Muslim extremists. Who would you got to for intel on Muslim extremists? The USA? No. Go for quality.

posted by: exclab on 09.01.05 at 07:07 AM [permalink]

Without discounting the ideas suggested by other posters, I'd suggest taking the obvious explanations seriously. Pakistan is a largely arid country with enormous development problems, and while Islamist extremists are plentiful in Pakistan they are most of them unfriendly to Musharraf. For both these reasons the Israelis would be very good people to have working relations with.

posted by: Zathras on 09.01.05 at 07:07 AM [permalink]

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