NEW YORK: Israel has shared its expertise with India in agriculture and water management and its relations with India have gone into a new orbit in nine years since 1992 when India established diplomatic relations with Israel.
Pakistan too can benefit from Israel’s expertise in agriculture, water management and many other areas to boost its economy. The ball is in Pakistan’s court, Israeli ambassador to India, Mark Sofer, told The News in a formal interview here after his hour-long off-the-record briefing to a select group of eight Indian, Pakistani and American journalists in New York. When asked about the Mossad agents actively engaged in Occupied Kashmir against Pakistan, the Israeli ambassador rejected such reports.
“The kind of articles we read in certain Pakistani Press from time to time is utter non-sense, unadulterated rubbish. There is no such activity. We have no will for such activity. We have no ill will whatsoever against Pakistani people. We hope that the Pakistani government will crack down hard against those, who enter India and kill our Jewish and Israeli people as well (as it happened in Mumbai). I insist on that; but it does not mean that we are working with the Indians or any one else against Pakistan. We have no animosity against Pakistan.” He made it clear that his country’s close relations with India are not directed against any third country. “Yes we are against terrorism and we want an end to terrorism. But we harbour no hostility against Pakistan.”
He also referred to some Muslim countries, which have recognised Israel and have established diplomatic relations wit Tel Aviv. “Many Muslim countries in Central Asia, Africa, even in the Middle-east and other regions have diplomatic relations with Israel.
The ball is in Pakistan’s court. The day Pakistan says it wants closer relations with Israel we will be ready to respond. Our close relationship with India is a fact and it is on the table. We will not compromise this relationship for anyone else. These relations are not aimed against any third country.” He was reminded of the gestures made during the rule of Pervez Musharraf, who addressed the dinner hosted by the American Jewish Congress in New York and also quietly invited some American Jewish leaders to Islamabad while his foreign minister met his Israeli counterpart in Turkey.
The Israeli diplomat said meetings and gestures cannot be taken as friendliness. “We are not saying Pakistan is killing Jews. We harbour no hostility towards Pakistan. It is Pakistan and the Pakistani media which is anti-Israel. So, the ball is in Pakistan’s court.” He refused to talk on the issue of some Pakistani leaders meeting Israelis privately and also avoided discussing Musharrf’s ‘friendly’ gestures. Musharaf had once commented, “We (Pakistanis) should not be more Palestinians than the Palestinians themselves.”
He was also asked about Israeli designs against Pakistan’s nuclear programme as a common objective of India and Israel. Ambassador Mark Foser categorically denied any such covert Israeli plan against Pakistani nuclear installations. “Israel is not a fly-by-night state. We look at issues in terms of reality and moderation,” he added.