B`desh should not establish ties with Israel: Experts

Israel was one of the 1st countries to recognise B`desh after independence.

Updated: Aug 29, 2010, 12:53 PM IST

Dhaka: Several foreign affairs experts in Bangladesh on Sunday opposed an idea of establishing diplomatic ties with Israel, as Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said Dhaka was indecisive about relations with the world`s lone Jewish state.

Former ambassador Mostafa Faruque Mohammad said that Bangladesh`s stance on Tel Aviv was "principled" and it should remain "inflexible" until Israel changes its position on Palestine and occupied Arab lands.

"We (Bangladesh) should only think otherwise about Israel if Tel Aviv recognising Palestine as an independent state, withdraw from occupied Arab lands including Golan Heights, Al-Quds and the holy Aqsa," he said.

Mohammad said: "I don`t think we have reason to rethink about relations with Israel immediately... (though) they have repeatedly sought to establish ties with us".

Israel was one of the first countries to recognise Bangladesh after its independence following a nine-month long Liberation War against Pakistan but Dhaka never acknowledged the recognition for its principled support to Palestine.

Several Arab or Muslim nations like Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Moroccoand and Turkey, however, established diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv in the past several decades.

International relations analyst Imtiaz Ahmed supplemented Faruque by saying Bangladesh was under no compulsion or "pressure" to recognise Israel or was likely to "gain" anything politically or financially by establishing ties with Israel.

"I don`t think a decision to establish immediate relations with Israel will be sellable either to the people of Bangladesh or its Muslim allies in the Arab world," Ahmed said, adding that he, however, believed Independent Palestine to emerge as a pleasant reality "today or tomorrow".

An expert on contemporary world politics and history, Professor Anwar Hossain, however, preferred "diplomatic engagement" instead of "disengagement" to pursue the cause that barred Bangladesh from establishing ties with Tel Aviv.

"Bangladesh had rightly taken the decision to ignore Israel`s recognition soon after our 1971 independence, but we may now think afresh in view of changed situation as several Muslim countries including Israel`s worst foe Egypt recognised it," Hossain said.

He said the "principled stand" often yield nothing unless "practical initiatives" were taken to resolve disputes.

The experts’ comments came a day after Foreign Minister Moni said in London that Dhaka was yet to take any decision on establishing relations with Israel despite Bangladesh`s policy of peace and friendship with all.

"(Anyway) Bangladesh has all out support for the peace loving Palestinians and this support will continue," a Foreign Ministry statement quoted her as saying at a discussion on London organised by the British think tank Policy Exchange.

Moni also said Bangladesh would continue to play its expected role for establishing peace in the Middle East.