Breeze of peace has already started flowing in the Middle East with several Arab nations already establishing relations with Israel. Diplomatic analysts are saying, it is time to change Bangladesh’s relations with the Jewish State and establish diplomatic ties.
Let us not forget, Israel is an independent and sovereign country and the only democracy in the Middle East. Think of Israel as an independent country for the Jews of the Middle East that would include Jews who fled Iran and Yemen. Israel also has Jews who fled Europe after the Holocaust and Jews escaping persecution in the Soviet Union. They definitely deserve an independent homeland. Moreover, we must remember, God has gifted the land of Israel to the Jewish people.
One important point is, by talking about a possible relation between Bangladesh and Israel, no one is asking for the dissolution of relations with the Palestinian people or stopping our support for a future nation-state for them. What we are proposing is – lifting the travel ban on Israel and begin interacting with the Jewish State. Let us remember, our relations with Israel can also be helpful to the Palestinian people as we can even lobby in favor of their demands with our Israeli counterpart. In a country like Bangladesh, with the Muslim majority of the population, our leadership can play important role in favor of the Palestinian people once Dhaka established relations with Jerusalem. Undoubtedly our Prime Minister would be a better advocate of the Palestinian people once Bangladesh has diplomatic ties with Israel.
Israel was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the Independence of Bangladesh, which we promptly rejected. Jewish people in the United States and Europe have provided support and aid to migrant communities from Bangladesh. Jewish aid agencies prominently aid migrants and refugees, many of whom are Muslims.
Also let us not forget, Jerusalem is the holy city for the followers of three major religions in the world – Muslims, Christians and Jews. We, as Muslims definitely aspire of visiting Jerusalem and offer prayers in the Al Aqsa mosque. We also do have dreams of visiting those holy sites in Israel, where our prophets have lived. Don’t we?
Our relations with Israel can be immensely beneficial in many ways. Just one example here. Israel has some of the best desalination technology in the world which can prove very useful to southern Bangladesh, where water salinity is on the rise. Moreover, with the help of Israeli technologies, we can help our rivers from being relieved of water pollution. We also can further develop our agricultural sector and agro-based industries by using sophisticated technology and method from Israel.
It is time to change that and engage with Israel. Let us first lift the travel ban and end the decades-old notion of considering Israel and Israelis as strangers.