LAHORE: Although 163 of the 193 United Nations member states recognize Israel, there are 30 countries, including Pakistan, which still do not enjoy diplomatic relations with this Zionist state which was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1517.
The Ottoman Empire kept ruling over Israel for 400 years till 1917, when the British finally conquered it. The Jewish State of Israel was finally proclaimed under the British Mandate for Palestine in 1948.
Following the Washington DC-brokered deal between the UAE and Israel to normalise relations on August 13 this year, Prime Minister Imran Khan had also gone on to flash headlines globally by categorically stating that his country would not recognise Israel until there was a Palestinian state acceptable to the Palestinians.
Having a GDP of $387.72 billion, Israel maintains full diplomatic relations with two of its Arab neighbours, Egypt and Jordan, having signed the peace treaties in 1979 and 1994 respectively. The countries that do not recognise Israel include Pakistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros, Djibouti, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Mali, Niger, Bhutan, Cuba, North Korea and Venezuela.
The passports of some countries are not valid for travel to Israel. These include Pakistan, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran and Iraq. Some 14 world countries do not accept Israeli passports. These are Pakistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Brunei, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. A week or so ago, the United Arab Emirates was also featuring on this list.
(References: The Jewish Virtual Library, the Daily Haaretz of Israel, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Washington Post and Al-Jazeera Television etc)
Research reveals that Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan had paid an official visit to Israel in 2005 and he hoped to play a role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The relations between the two nations deteriorated after the 2008–09 Gaza War and the 2010 Gaza Flotilla raid. The Gaza Flotilla raid was a military operation by Israel against six civilian ships of the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" on May 31, 2010 in international waters in the Mediterranean Sea. Nine activists were killed on one ship during the raid and 10 Israeli soldiers were wounded.
(References: The CNN, the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times, etc)
The alleged Turkish involvement in exposure of Israeli special agents in Iran in October 2013 had created further tension. In December 2015, Turkey and Israel held a secret meeting to negotiate restoration of diplomatic relations. They reached an agreement on June 27, 2016 to start normalizing ties. In December 2017, Erdogan had threatened to break off ties again due to American recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
And now, in August 2020, Turkey has yet again threatened to suspend its ties with the UAE over deal with Israel. British newspaper "The Guardian" has quoted Erdogan as saying: “The move against Palestine is not a step that can be stomached." This reputed British media house has stated: "He (Erdogan) said he had told his foreign minister that we may also take a step in the direction of suspending diplomatic ties with the Abu Dhabi leadership or pulling back our ambassador." Erdogan has increasingly styled himself as the Palestinians’ lone regional champion, despite his country having had diplomatic relations with Israel for decades. The announcement has divided the region, with Iran also denouncing it as an act of "strategic stupidity from Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv." Tehran’s foreign minister described the agreement as a "dagger … unjustly struck by the UAE in the backs of the Palestinian people and all Muslims."