ISLAMABAD – Pakistan will seek China and Russia’s support to raise the Palestine issue amidst United States President Donald Trump’s open support for Israel, The Nation learnt.
This week, the new US president spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the telephone and invited him to a bilateral meeting in Washington next month. Trump had described the telephonic conversation as “very nice”.
A month earlier, during his election campaign, Trump had vowed to recognize occupied Jerusalem as the Jewish country’s capital despite its disputed status.
The Israeli prime minister earlier approved scores of new Jewish colonies in Jerusalem, much to the annoyance of the Muslim world.
A senior official at the foreign ministry told The Nation that China, a close friend, and Russia, an emerging partner, will be contacted to muster their support against Israeli excesses. “The contacts are on as part of diplomatic efforts to stop Israel from pushing the Palestinians out of their motherland,” he said.
Another official at the ministry said that Arab countries will also be mobilized against Israel. “We will seek joint efforts to push for the rights of the Palestinian people who are being made aliens in their homeland,” he said.
The official said with the help of China, Russia and the Muslim world, US support for Israel could be neutralized. “We will also take up the Palestine and Kashmir issues with Washington diplomatically,” he said.
Foreign Office Spokesman Nafees Zakaria said that Pakistan maintained a principled position on the Palestine issue. “Pakistan calls for an independent and sovereign Palestinian state with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital,” he explained.
Zakaria said that the UN Security Council’s resolution 242 — demanding Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories and other agreements for a peaceful resolution of the Palestine issue —remained unimplemented. “Pakistan calls for their early implementation,” he said.
The latest UN Security Council resolution says that the Jewish settlements had “no legal validity” and “constitutes a flagrant violation of international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-state solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace”.
Pakistan in the meanwhile also has the challenge to improve ties with the US under Trump, who is known for his inclination to India.
Defense analyst Major-Gen (retd) Farooq Malik said that the Trump’s government will have to work with other countries for success. “Of course, everyone expects major change after Trump’s entry. But international relations are not based on personalities, these are based on national interests. Trump will have priorities in his mind,” he said.
He said that the US will be aiming to contain China but it will not be easy for them to ignore Pakistan.
Former ambassador Rustam Shah Mohmand said that Trump will have to adopt flexibility as he moves forward. “He has expressed views about global issues like Iran. His Kashmir policy is unclear. His policy about China and the South China Sea is also yet to unfold. For Pakistan, he is expected to repeat the ‘do more’ policy,” he said.
Director Center for South Asian Studies Dr Umbreen Javed said that there was decreasing warmth in bilateral relations between Pakistan and the US as the former was looking towards China and Russia. “We cannot ignore the US but also we cannot compromise on our policy on international issues like Palestine and Kashmir,” she said.
She said it was not easy to predict Trump. “It is too early to say anything about his policy towards the global issues and Pakistan. His policies towards India and Afghanistan are still awaited. One thing is for sure, they cannot ignore Pakistan,” she said.
Dr Umbreen Javed that said Pakistan’s policy on Kashmir and Palestine was very justified and its efforts for resolution of the issues were aimed at global peace.