Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan says the Israel-Palestine issue will not be resolved unless there is a “just settlement” for the Palestinians, even if more countries decide to recognise Israel.
“Any one-sided settlement which is going to be imposed on the Palestinians is not going to work,” Khan said after he was asked about the recent normalisation of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.
In a wide-ranging interview with Talk to Al Jazeera, the Pakistani prime minister said Israel must “recognise this: that if they do not allow the Palestinians to have a just settlement, a viable state, this issue will not die down.”
“Even if other countries recognise it, it will not die down, the issue will continue to fester. It is in Israel’s interest that there should be a just settlement,” Khan added.
Last month, in a local TV interview, Khan said Pakistan would not recognise Israel until there is a Palestinian state acceptable to the Palestinian people.
A history of Arab-Israeli normalisation
Khan said if Pakistan accepted Israel and ignored the oppression of the Palestinians, “we will have to give up Kashmir as well then”, adding that this was not something Pakistan could do.
Last year India stripped Indian-administered Kashmir of its limited autonomy, angering Pakistan, which claims the Muslim-majority Himalayan region in full but administers it in part.
The UAE on August 13 became the first Gulf Arab country – and third in the Middle East after Egypt and Jordan – to reach a deal on normalising relations with Israel, capping years of discreet contacts between the two countries in commerce and technology.
On Monday, high-level delegations from Israel and the US arrived in UAE, via the first-ever direct flight between the Middle Eastern nations, to put final touches on the controversial pact.
Palestinians have condemned the deal as a stab in the back by a major Arab player while they still lack a state of their own. Turkey threatened to suspend relations with the UAE after normalisation was announced.
On Wednesday, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani told US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, that Doha remained committed to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative; in the initiative Arab nations offered Israel normalised ties in return for a statehood deal with East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in the 1967 Middle East War.