Pakistani officials may have met with Israelis amid rumor of peace deal

Among those who have spoken out about this possibility is Noor Dahri the founder of the British think tank Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism.

Noor Dahri (photo credit: NOOR DAHRI)
Noor Dahri
(photo credit: NOOR DAHRI)
Pakistani officials may have met with Israelis officials amid rumors, including diplomatic circles, that Pakistan could be the next country to normalize ties with Israel.
Among those who have spoken out about this possibility is Noor Dahri the founder of the British think tank Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism.
He has been fairly active on twitter, with respect to the meeting, noting, "soon I am going to disclose a recent secret but successful meeting between the Pakistani politician and Israeli politicians in Tel Aviv." 
Dahri provided more details of the trip in this i24 interview.
Pakistan has in the past rejected speculation of a deal with Israel. 
But Dahri in his i24 interview said that in the past said that former Pakistani Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif set two delegations to Israel to explore normalization of ties and Benazir Bhutto met with a Israeli delegation in Washington and sent a delegation to Israel. 
Pakistan has been publicly hostile to Israel over the Palestinian issue, but there is a long history of covert ties between the two countries, Dahri said in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post.
 An opportunity has opened now as well in light of the shifting geo-political reality in which such relations with Israel are no longer taboo in the Arab and Muslim world, Dahri said.
This includes the US brokered Abraham Accords under whose rubric Israel has normalized this with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and is in the process of doing so with Sudan and Morocco.
"Openly they [Pakistan] are telling its people we are not going forward without the establishment of a Palestinian state," Dahri said. 
But it is a hard position to hold onto in light of the Abraham Accords and the possibility of normalized deal with Saudi Arabia, he added.
"Now is the time, because Arab countries want Pakistan to openly establish ties with Israel, he said.
The Arab states want to break Pakistan away from Turkey and the Iranian alliance and bring it into their emerging diplomatic circle with Israel, Dahri said.
Saudi Arabia has the UAE generated pressure on Pakistan to normalize relations with Israel, as well as minimize relations with Turkey," he said.
Pakistan is hoping that a deal with Israel would help it improve its ties with Saudi Arabia, which has stopped financial assistance and oil exports to Pakistan, Dahri said. Similarly Pakistan ties with the UAE are at a low point, such that the UAE has halted visas for Pakistan citizens, he added.
Pakistanis who live and work in Saudi Arabia provide a $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion boost to Pakistan's economy, so the country's economy would shrink unless the visa ban is reversed, he said.
"Both Arab countries [Saudi Arabia and the UAE] have asked Pakistan to stop its alliance with Turkey and normalize relations with Israel. 
"In return Saudi Arabia will reinstate financial assistance and start providing the oil to Pakistan" and the UAE would reissue visas, he said.
Pakistan is also in need of an ally in the region, to balance out India's growing ties with Middle East countries such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel, he added.
The Trump administration has continued to work in its last weeks toward creating normalization deals between Israel and Arab, Muslim and African states.
White House special advisor Jared Kushner is expected to travel with an Israeli delegation to Morocco next Tuesday.
Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen has speculated that other deals could include Oman and Indonesia, but has not mentioned Pakistan.