Recognizing Israeli State
The historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is an important milestone for Israel. But there are still many countries that either do not recognize it or do not have diplomatic relations. A look at such countries.
Afghanistan has not recognized Israel since its inception, nor have there been diplomatic relations between the two countries. In 2005, then-Afghan President Hamid Karzai hinted that diplomatic relations with Israel were possible if the process of becoming a separate Palestinian state began.
Algeria, a North African Muslim-majority country, does not recognize Israel as a state, so there are no diplomatic relations between the two. Algeria became independent in 1962 and was immediately recognized by Israel, but Algeria refused to do so. Travel to Algeria on an Israeli passport is not possible. In the 1967 war, Algeria sent its MiG-21 planes and troops to help Egypt.
Indonesia and Israel do not have formal diplomatic relations, but they do have trade, tourism and security ties. In the past, the leaders of the two countries have also visited each other. In 2012, Indonesia announced the opening of a consulate in Israel, but so far this has not been materialised.
At the time of Israel’s establishment, Iran was the second Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel after Turkey. However, after the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, the situation changed radically. Iran no longer recognizes Israel, and the two countries are considered the worst rivals in the Middle East.
The Gulf state of Bahrain do not have diplomatic relations with Israel, nor has it recognized Israel like many other Arab countries. However, after the UAE-Israel agreement, Bahrain has called it the right move and Israeli officials have expressed the possibility that Bahrain will also follow in the footsteps of the UAE and sign a peace agreement.
Brunei is also one of the nearly two dozen countries that have not recognized Israel since its inception, nor do the two countries have diplomatic relations.
Bangladesh has also announced that the Dhaka government will not recognize Israel until an independent Palestinian state is established. Israel supported Bangladesh’s war of independence and is one of the first countries to recognize it since its inception.
Bhutan does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, nor does recognize it. Bhutan’s foreign relations as a country are also very limited and it does not recognize all countries that are not members of the United Nations.
Pakistan has not recognized Israel and there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries. The Pakistani passport also states that it is valid for all countries except Israel. In the Arab-Israeli war, Pakistan sent military aid to Arab nations and Israel allegedly tried to stop Pakistan’s nuclear program. Pakistan has also announced that it will not recognize Israel until a two-state solution emerges.
Tunisia has had limited diplomatic and trade relations with Israel since the 1950s, but its diplomatic relations have been severed since 2000.
The Republic of Djibouti is part of the Arab League and has no diplomatic relations with Israel. However, 50 years ago, the two countries established trade relations.
Saudi Arabia has neither formal diplomatic relations with Israel nor has it recognized Israel. In recent years, however, relations between the two countries have improved. Saudi King Abdullah proposed a comprehensive peace plan in 2002, but Israel did not respond. Saudi Arabia has not yet issued a statement supporting or opposing the latest agreement between Israel and the UAE.
Sudan has not yet recognized Israel. The two countries do not have diplomatic relations and cannot travel to Sudan on Israeli passports.
Neighbouring countries Israel and Syria are still unable to establish diplomatic relations. Three wars have been fought between the two countries. Syria also has close ties with Iran and Hezbollah. Israel has been targeting several targets in Syria, citing threats to itself.
North Korea did not recognize Israel either. On the contrary, North Korea declared its recognition of a Palestinian state in 1988.
The African country of Somaiya also does not recognize Israel, nor do they have diplomatic relations.
Iraq has not yet recognized Israel, nor do the two countries have diplomatic relations. It was only after the establishment of the state of Israel that Iraq declared war on Israel. The Iraqi Kurds, however, hinted at establishing diplomatic relations with Israel by announcing the establishment of their regional government.
Like other Arab League countries, Oman does not recognize Israel, but the two countries established trade relations in 1994 that lasted until 2000. Two years ago, an Israeli delegation led by Netanyahu visited Oman. Oman has also backed the UAE-Israel agreement. Israeli officials have expressed hope that Oman will soon sign a similar agreement with Israel.
Qatar and Israel have no diplomatic relations and have not yet recognized Israel. But there have been trading relations between the two countries. Qatar cannot be travelled on an Israeli passport, but Israeli citizens will be able to travel to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar has not yet commented on the UAE decision.
Kuwait has not yet recognized Israel nor does it have diplomatic relations. Unlike other Gulf states, Kuwait has not yet issued a statement on the historic peace deal between the UAE and Israel.
Relations between Cuba and Israel have been volatile. Cuba opposed the partition of Palestine at the United Nations but began diplomatic relations with Israel the following year. Cuba provided military assistance to Egypt in the Arab-Israeli war.
Israel’s neighbour, Lebanon, also does not recognize it, nor do they have diplomatic relations. Israel considers Lebanon an enemy country due to the ongoing clashes between the Iranian-backed organization Hezbollah and Israel. Israel also attacked Lebanon in 1982 and 2005.
Libya and Israel have not yet established diplomatic relations, nor has it recognized Israel.
The African nation of Mali severed diplomatic ties with Israel in 1973 and has not yet been restored.
Morocco has not yet formally recognized Israel and has no formal diplomatic relations. However, the two countries’ secret relations are much better and they continue to co-operate on a number of issues, including trade and defence. In recent years, there have been reports that Morocco intends to recognize Israel, but public protests against it have begun.
Malaysia has neither recognized Israel nor has diplomatic relations with it. In addition, neither Israeli travel documents are valid in Malaysia nor travel to Israel on a Malaysian passport. However, trade relations exist between the two countries.
Mauritania, an African Muslim-majority country, began diplomatic relations with Israel in late 1999 but severed ties almost nine years later. Currently, there are no diplomatic relations between the two countries. Mauritania has called the recent Israeli-Emirati agreement a “wise” decision.
The African nation of Niger maintained diplomatic relations with Israel from its inception in 1960 to 1973. Diplomatic relations were restored from 1996 to 2002, but since then Niger has severed ties with Israel.
The South American country of Venezuela announced the severance of all diplomatic relations with Israel in response to the 2009 attack on Gaza.
Yemen also did not recognize Israel or establish diplomatic relations. Relations between the two countries have been strained and travel to Yemen cannot be carried out on an Israeli passport, or on a passport with an Israeli visa.
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