Pakistani and Indonesian delegations are currently on a visit to Israel to deepen ties amid what appears to be a growing likelihood of countries normalizing with the occupying state.
According to a report by the Pakistani news site propakistaniThe delegation began its visit to Israel today and is being led by Pakistani-American Nasim Ashraf, former head of the Pakistan Cricket Board and former Pakistani Minister of State for Human Development under Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf’s government.
In a statement to the news agency, Ashraf said he was “pleased and honored” to take part in efforts “to promote peace and interfaith dialogue” as the head of the delegation. “Such people-to-people contacts are very important in developing understanding and harmony between the Abrahamic faiths to which we belong,” he added.
The delegation – which is reportedly given tours of Israel and is even set to meet Israeli President Isaac Herzog – also includes Pakistani journalist Ahmed Quraishi, who was fired from his program on Pakistani state television in June for visiting Israel the previous month.
It also includes members of the American Muslim and Multi-faith Women’s Empowerment Council (AMMWEC) and Sharaka, an NGO established for the purpose of promoting the Abraham Accords and aims to develop relations between Israel and Muslim-majority states and to normalize.
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AMMWEC President 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 Abrahamic Accords in Muslim countries.”
She explained that the goal of the trip “is to allow participants to see and explore Israel for themselves and to share what they learn and experience with audiences in Pakistan, to provide information for the important debate that will take place in the world.” Under discussion is whether Pakistan should join the Abraham Accords.”
She also claimed that “much of the visit will focus on life-saving technologies being developed in Israel related to water and food security and mitigating climate and environmental disasters.”
Although the Pakistani delegation is not an official state-sponsored one – and the Pakistani state and society have always openly opposed normalization – it is the first and largest dedicated to building ties with Tel Aviv and promoting the possibility of normalization becomes ties to the occupying state.
However, this appears not to be the case for the Indonesian delegation, which is reportedly in Israel and is headed by a “senior official”, with no details of that official or the delegation being clarified.
While there is no sign that Islamabad is normalizing ties with Tel Aviv, there are signs this year that Jakarta is doing so. Contrary to its earlier claim that it will never normalize ties with Israel, Indonesian health officials visited the country in January to discuss Covid-19, Indonesia allowed Israel’s participation in World Cup football matches, an Indonesian politician took a trip to illegal ones Settlements in the occupied West Bank and last month Israeli technology experts visited Indonesia.
These developments came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken raised the possibility back in December that Jakarta could normalize ties with Tel Aviv.