Why does an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis consider Israel to be an enemy of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan? Does the ‘ideology of Pakistan’ have anything to do with this? If Israel is an enemy of Pakistan, what does that make the bulk of Arab nations who maintain diplomatic relations with Israel? Pak-Israel relations are considered taboo in Pakistani politics and society. There is, however, nothing wrong in revisiting and rethinking this relationship from a hypothetical standpoint. Historically, Israel’s creation emerged from the sheer bias and duplicity of the great powers. The weakness and hypocrisy exhibited by the Arab leaders, moreover, furthered Zionist ambitions. Israel being considered an enemy of Pakistan is at the pinnacle of the list of faults Pakistan has made since independence. Pakistan does not recognise Israel’s de jure status, but by mentioning the word ‘Israel’ on the passports of its citizens, Islamabad has automatically given Tel Aviv de facto status. Pakistan has paid a huge price for its pseudo-hostility towards Israel. There is no doubt that Israel with Indian collaboration or perhaps instigation, planned a strike on Pakistan’s nuclear assets and laboratories at Kahuta, Rawalpindi. However, the acquisition of F-16 fighter aircrafts by Pakistan forced these schemers to abandon the operation. Realism dictates that Pakistan adopts a pragmatic approach towards Israel. The crucial thing is to draw up an analysis of what Pakistan has achieved and lost while maintaining hostile relations with Israel Tel Aviv also continues to arm New Delhi with advanced weapons and armaments due to Islamabad’s hostile rhetoric towards the Jewish state. Israel has also locally developed the Arrow anti-ballistic missile defence system and has already transferred its components to India for the Agni ballistic missile defence system. Contrary to common understanding, Realism is not about pessimism, it is about survival. Realism has its foundations in rationality and demands decision-making based on a cost-benefit analysis. Realism talks primarily about the acquisition and achievement of power to pursue national interest and to guarantee national security. No tradition, school of thought, or even political philosophy approaches things the way Realism does. The Realist tradition presents the best possible course of action for domestic as well as foreign relations. Realism dictates Pakistan adopt a pragmatic foreign policy, especially towards Israel. The most important thing is to draw up an analysis of what Pakistan has achieved and lost while maintaining hostile relations towards Israel. An even more important calculation that needs to be undertaken is to compute the perceived advantages and benefits in opening up towards Israel. The answer is simple yet shocking — Pakistan has gained nothing but criticism and condemnation for not embracing Israel. The ideology of Pakistan is structurally Islamic and it does not hinder relations with Jews. Similarly, Realism puts great stress on the spirit of nationalism, which in this case encourages having relations with Israel. Realism negates the existence of friendship in international relations and declares allies and partners to be instruments that enhance a state’s power and security. John Mearsheimer, moreover, outlined the importance of international institutions and organisations in his article ‘A Realist Reply’, published in 1995, which argued that these institutions are tools a state can use to enhance its relative power position. Similarly, Pakistan must use Israel to its benefit. Pakistan must not abandon its moral and political support for Palestinians; however, the people of Pakistan must not forget that the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority never backed Pakistan on Kashmir Some argue that by recognising Israel, Pakistan would lose its long history of foundational and doctrinal hostility towards Tel Aviv. It is not necessary for Pakistan to immediately recognise the de jure status of Israel and to recognise it as a sovereign state. However, gradual relations can be established by using two of Islamabad and Tel Aviv’s mutual friends — Turkey and China. Isolationism is no longer a viable strategy in international relations. Pakistan must now change its orientation towards Israel. Religious parties in Pakistan are still blindly obsessed with their desire of un-doing Israel. However, it is now evident that with its military might and foreign supplied hardware, Israel’s future is secure and strong. How much longer will Pakistan keep supporting Palestinians who themselves sold their lands to Israeli Jews? How much longer will Pakistan deny the existence of Israel? Realism demands that Pakistan make foreign policy decisions independent of emotions and sentiments. By moving closer to Israel, moreover, Pakistan will surely break the New Delhi-Tel Aviv nexus. Pakistan must not abandon its moral and political support for Palestinians; however, the people of Pakistan must not forget that the Palestinian people and the Palestinian Authority never backed Pakistan on Kashmir. It is an open secret that many leaders of the Muslim world are narrow-minded and lack strategic vision. The Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Arab League, moreover, are now little more than coffee clubs. Most Arab leaders are incapable but highly opportunist; they could not resist Israel and resorted to jumping the bandwagon and to appeasement. The recent statement by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman regarding Israel is, in fact, a testament to this. Perhaps it is time to understand the games our Arab brethren are playing. After all, it were Saudi Arabia and Iran which supported Israel in destroying Saddam Hussein’s Osirak Nuclear Power Plant, as claimed by Rodger Claire in his book ‘Raid on the Sun.’ The writer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, May 27th 2018.