We, the undersigned, strongly call upon the Government of Pakistan to not take any action in normalizing relations with the Apartheid State of Israel. As Pakistan has been keenly aware, and its current Prime Minister has laudably articulated numerous times, there should be no question about normalizing ties with a state that militarily occupies, brutalizes, and prevents justice to an occupied people, in this case, the longstanding suffering Palestinians. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and many global analysts see what India has been doing in Kashmir now as something straight out of the playbook of their Israeli friends. If Prime Minister Khan has so consistently been vocal about one brutal military occupation in Kashmir, then his statements on an equally vicious one in Palestine have given him the moral high ground of a consistent principled position against brutalized populations living under military occupation everywhere.
Nevertheless, we hear of a barrage of commentary from Pakistan, the Gulf, and Israel that Islamabad is just waiting in line to follow some of the other regimes in the Gulf in normalizing Israeli military occupation and its violation of numerous UN resolutions as well as dozens of human rights conventions, humanitarian law, etc. We appreciate Prime Minister Imran Khan’s dozens of recent statements that Pakistan WILL NOT normalize relations with the State of Israel, and we want to affirm our support to this principled position of Prime Minister Khan’s government on this question. We also want to remind the world that we are at a point where Israel has effectively destroyed any iota of a ‘peace process,’ has created bantustans and ghettoes, expanded settler-colonization of the West Bank and Arab East Jerusalem, and has relegated the Gaza Strip to what the world’s leading human rights experts call an ‘open air prison,’ subject to routine Israeli bombardment and massacres.
We are in a period where the US is holding together an alliance of pliant states – crucially, Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt – to maintain a long-held US-Israeli hegemony over the region. But it is now barely holding on, and many of these regimes are like a house of cards waiting to fall –acting recklessly and mercilessly, to their own long-term detriment.
The only way that these few Arab countries have been able to normalize their relations with Israel is because they are police states, where the overwhelming opposition and disgust to such normalization by the population can be ignored with impunity. The Government of Pakistan, and especially Prime Minister Imran Khan, seems to genuinely care about the pulse of its people, of what they want and don’t want. A prominent Arab-American academic from the University of California at Berkeley recently gave a lecture tour throughout Pakistan, and his feeling was that over the lifespan of his academic career of traveling from country-to-country, he had never seen a population more pro-Palestinian, i.e. in favor of justice and dignity for Palestinians, than he did in Pakistan. That statement of his, covered widely in the media, made many Pakistanis feel proud that their message of solidarity with the Palestinians could be heard loudly.
Finally, we are right now at a point where the global Palestine solidarity campaign is at its peak. Tactics such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel have been incredibly successful, forcing many Western governments, universities, banks, etc. to divest from Israel and to begin to treat Israel exactly the same way Apartheid South Africa was treated – a country to be boycotted until the country was transformed to delivering justice and dignity to its black majority.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has praised Nelson Mandela and the South African freedom struggle on many occasions. By now, we have heard virtually all South Africans, especially leading veteran leaders and activists in the liberation struggle, who have seen the Apartheid conditions in Israel – state the same thing repeated over and over again: to paraphrase the iconic Archbishop Desmond Tutu, what Israel is doing in Palestine today is far worse than anything we (oppressed South Africans) experienced under white minority rule of Apartheid South Africa. That is a very powerful indictment of the crimes of Israel from a people that suffered immensely under Apartheid in South Africa.
Palestine today is a global symbol of the ongoing struggle for justice and dignity in a world where some states and forces are hellbent on denying these elementary rights. Indeed, there is no way that Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan will have a shred of moral authority to speak on Kashmir or any form of oppression if they succumb to the pressures to normalize relations with Israel at a time when much of the world, including a very large number of powerful Jewish voices, are flatly opposed to the criminality and barbarism that Israel routinely unleashes as part of its military occupation of Palestine.
So we urge the Government of Pakistan, and Prime Minister Imran Khan whom Palestinians, Kashmiris, and other oppressed peoples throughout the world, have deeply respected for his principled position against all of these instances of oppression – to not succumb to the pressures of either the US or a few of the Gulf States. Pakistan should not bow down to these pressures regardless of how many goodies (or threats) these forces offer Pakistan in exchange for permitting Israel to carry on with its ‘bloodbath’ in Palestine, the word ‘bloodbath’ being chosen here specifically because Prime Minister Khan has correctly been telling the world that this is what is going to ensue by the behavior of Israel’s new best friend, India, in occupied Kashmir.
We know that the Government of Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan will respect the wishes of not only the global solidarity movement for justice for Palestinians, including occupied Palestinians themselves (just like the majority of the suffering South Africans under Apartheid Rule), to, under no circumstances whatsoever, recognize the illegitimate and criminal regime of Israel as long as it does not, as Apartheid South Africa was eventually forced to do when completely isolated and boycotted internationally, entirely transform itself and give equal citizenship, justice, and dignity to the Palestinian people.
The global community has come to immensely respect Prime Minister Imran Khan because he is perceived as a leader with integrity and one who uncompromisingly safeguards the sovereignty of his country and his people, and will not be bullied by outside forces, by the carrot or the stick, to be used to effectively do the devil’s work.
Indeed, it will be incredibly saddening for all of us from North and South America, to Africa, to Europe, to Asia, and to Palestine and Pakistan to see a leader with integrity such as Prime Minister Imran Khan lead his country to the same type of slavish and morally bankrupt paths prior leaders of Pakistan have taken the country towards.
We have been watching closely to see if Prime Minister Imran Khan can keep his word on the matter of being uncompromising in regard to the constant statements he has made in his absolute refusal to normalize relations with Israel. We hope a leader of his integrity and global standing, who has promised his own people accountability and justice, will keep his word and fight for justice for Palestinians as he does for the Kashmiris.
And if for some reason Prime Minister Imran Khan is coerced by either internal and/or external forces to have the Government of Pakistan tragically accept the nation’s normalization with Israel, then he must have the moral courage, indeed the moral accountability, owed toward Pakistanis, Palestinians, and to all of those who have been struggling for decades to end Israeli military occupation of Palestine – TO PUBLICLY ANNOUNCE THAT HE COULD DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO STOP THE FORCES – THAT HE MUST CLEARLY IDENTIFY – THAT HAVE LEGITIMIZED ONGOING ISRAELI BRUTALITY TOWARDS THE PALESTINIAN PEOPLE.
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