Tuesday, 24 May, 2022
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The implications of Netanyahu, Pompeo and Mohammad bin Salman’s ‘secret meeting’

In episode 624 of #CutTheClutter, Shekhar Gupta talked about how the 'secret meeting' could significantly alter Israel's relations with several countries.

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New Delhi: In a first, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia along with Mossad intelligence chief Yossi Cohen Monday, for a ‘secret meeting’ with Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In episode 624 of ‘Cut The Clutter’, ThePrint’s Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta looks at the implications of this meeting for the countries involved and the world at large.

Gupta noted that the three-hour long meeting was especially noteworthy because outgoing US President Donald Trump has been rendered a “lame duck” after the elections but is carrying on as if nothing has changed.


Also read: Why Israel’s failed war on coronavirus could spell the end for Netanyahu


‘Normalisation’ of relations with Israel

According to Gupta, one of the first conclusions that can be drawn from this meeting is that there are attempts to “normalise” relations with Israel.

“Israel with the help of the Trump administration has launched a flurry of normalisation of relationships in the Arab world, or you might say that the Trump administration has launched a flurry of normalisations,” Gupta said.

The fact that Israel is getting direct flights to the UAE that pass over Saudi Arabia and is soliciting tourists to come from UAE is evidence of the fact, he noted.

Referring to an article by Pakistani columnist Kunwar Khuldune Shahid for Haaretz, Gupta stated that they would have wanted to “normalise normalisation” by having other Sunni countries do it first.

“But it looks like now, Trump got impatient. And Netanyahu got impatient. And MBS got impatient that you know, Biden administration [in the US] will come and we don’t know what will happen,” he said.


Also read: G-20 meet shows world is moving on from Trump yet multilateralism is left struggling


The implications

This meeting, Gupta pointed out, could have implications on the Israel-Palestinian conflict as well, since Saudi Arabia will be willing to settle for something short of a two-state solution now.

More importantly, it seems to have created ripples in Pakistan.

Gupta drew attention to a “rare interview” in which Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan was asked whether there is pressure on Pakistan to recognise Israel.

“Imran Khan then says, very philosophically, see there is pressure and that is because at this point Israel has a great impact on America especially on the Trump administration,” Gupta narrated.

Khan also noted, during the interview, that there is also pressure from another Islamic country “who are good friends”. It has been deduced by several people that Khan was most probably referring to Saudi Arabia here.

“But, he (Imran Khan) says, how can we listen to them. I cannot recognise Israel because I am bound by what Jinnah stated earlier on for Pakistan, for Pakistan to accept Israel as a legitimate state there has to be a settlement to…their satisfaction” Gupta said, adding that Khan had avoided mentioning the two-state settlement when saying this.

He surmised that if Saudi Arabia is moving towards the direction of Israel it might want to pull Pakistan along with it, something the Pakistani army “will be okay with”.

“So either Pakistan now finally gives up Saudi Arabia and to that extent, even the Americans and latches its fate, on one hand with China strategically and on the other hand, on the Islamic side, with Turkey,” he said

Gupta added that this may leave Pakistan in a confusing situation.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. There isn’t any confusion in Pakistan to recognize and normalize ties with Israel. Imran Khan knows well any move in this direction will scale him down as PM and may newer restore back. The people incharge of domestic politics with a huge mass of society lays with the orthodox and conservative Mullah’s whom no individual can not risk ignoring. Already on back foot with domestic issues and opposition up the ante , Imran realizes his position well to neutralize the Saudi presssed ties with Israel. MBS is already rejected from the International platform since Jamal Kha. murder in Istanbul under his direction and any further move to dislodge muslim ruler of states affiliates will weaken his position. With Biden reaching the white house within a month, both the Saudis and Netanyahu frequently tried to finish the unfinish in time by annexation of West Jerusalem and depriving the Palestinians of their fundamental human rights to live and survive. With no middle east country flying high post covid scenario, the Saudis are left restless in engaging the new administration in Washington to fulfill their dreams. Its like more than Imran Khan, MBS is dreaming badly for the coming days.

  2. The main issue for us is- Wat happens if Biden succumbs to Pak demand to intervene in Kashmir issue in return for Pak recognition of Israel. In fact, Kashmir issue is now settled by India and it is well accepted internationally except by the cabal of Pak-China-turkey-Malaysia. Recognition of Israel by major Middle Eastern powers plus Pakistan etc will settle the Palestinian issue as well, These were the two potential dangerous nuclear spots for Clinton in 90s!
    Once these issues are settled, the attention would turn to Uighur and Tibet. That will be interesting development to watch in next 5 years.

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