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Pakistan, Indonesia delegations visit Israel in apparent normalisation efforts

September 20, 2022 at 8:16 pm

Nasim Ashraf, former head of the Pakistan Cricket Board and a former Pakistani Minister of State for Human Development [Youtube]

Pakistani and Indonesian delegations are currently on a visit to Israel to deepen ties, amid a seeming increase in the possibility of the countries’ normalisation with the occupation state.

According to a report by the Pakistani news site, ProPakistani, the delegation began their visit to Israel today and is being headed by Pakistani-American, Nasim Ashraf, the former head of the Pakistan Cricket Board and a former Pakistani Minister of State for Human Development under Prime Minister, Pervez Musharraf ‘s government.

In a statement given to the news outlet, Ashraf said he was “delighted and honoured” to participate in efforts “to promote peace and interfaith dialogue” by heading the delegation. “Such people-to-people contacts are very important to develop understanding and harmony between Abrahamic Faiths to which we belong,” he added.

The delegation – which is reportedly being given tours around Israel and is even set to meet Israeli President, Isaac Herzog – also includes the Pakistani journalist, Ahmed Quraishi, who was fired from his show on Pakistani state television in June for visiting Israel the previous month.

It additionally includes members of the American Muslim and Multi-faith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) and Sharaka, an NGO founded for the purpose of promoting the Abraham Accords which aims to develop and normalise ties between Israel and Muslim-majority states.

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The president of AMMWEC and Shakara board member, Anila Ali, told the outlet that “we must continue our work to build peace on a people-to-people connection to promote the Abraham Accords in Muslim countries.”

She explained that the aim of the trip “is to allow the participants to see and explore Israel for themselves, and to transmit what they learn and experience to audiences in Pakistan to help provide information for the important debate under way on whether Pakistan should join the Abraham Accords.”

She also claimed that “much of the visit will focus on life-saving technologies developed in Israel relating to water and food security and to mitigating climate and environmental disasters.”

Although the Pakistani delegation is not an official state-sponsored one – and the Pakistani state and society has always openly been opposed to normalisation – it is the first and largest one to be carried out for building relations with Tel Aviv and furthering the possibility of normalising ties with the occupation state.

That is apparently not the case with the Indonesian delegation, however, which is reportedly in Israel and being headed by a “senior official”, without any clarification on the details of that official or the delegation.

While there have not been any signs of Islamabad normalising ties with Tel Aviv, there have been signs of Jakarta doing so throughout this year. Contradicting its previous insistence that it will never normalise relations with Israel, Indonesian health officials visited the country in January to discuss Covid-19, Indonesia allowed Israel’s participation in World Cup soccer games, an Indonesian politician made a trip to illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and, last month, Israeli tech experts visited Indonesia.

Those developments came after US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, raised the possibility of Jakarta normalising relations with Tel Aviv back in December.

Normalisation - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Normalisation – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]