Pakistani politicians, organizations and citizens have voiced their disapproval of steps in recent months by some Arab and African Muslim-majority countries to normalize diplomatic relations with Israel.

Long-standing behind-the-scenes contacts between Gulf countries, notably the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Israel were announced by US President Donald Trump on Aug. 13.

Trump also announced that Bahrain had reached a similar agreement with Tel Aviv on Sept. 11, and Sudan likewise on Oct. 23.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, a member of the Senate from Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan political party, said: "I think this is not normalization, this is an occupation."

Noting that the US wanted to make Israel "a powerful country and the police of the region," Khan said Washington helped Tel Aviv fulfill its "strategic goals."

Describing Israel as an "illegal country," Khan said: "They occupied the land of innocent Palestinians, engaged in grave human rights violations, violated all international norms, rules and regulations."

Khan said that Israel's "hegemonic design and approach" was a threat to the people of the region, the Middle East, peace and the future.

Former Interior Minister and head of Pakistan's Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Ahsan Iqbal, said normalization must be linked to the solution of the Palestinian problem.

"There should be no compromise until the Palestinians' rights are properly recognized," Iqbal added.

Sabir Abo Maryam, the chief of the Palestine Foundation Pakistan, said the recognition of Israel by Arab countries was part of a so-called peace plan for the Middle East, dubbed the "Deal of the Century" by President Trump.

Pointing out that this plan aims to completely eliminate the issue of Palestine, Maryam said the US and its Arab allies wanted to weaken Palestinians and so they would be unable to fight against Israel.

He underlined that that Arab countries' recognition of Israel had meaning not only for the region, but also for Pakistan, as those who have abandoned the Palestine issue would do the same on the Kashmir issue.

Pakistan does not expect any help from these countries, even on Kashmir, he added.

Irfan Khan, a driver in Islamabad, told Anadolu Agency that Israel was "persecuting" Palestinians and said Arabs should stop Israel, or at least refuse to engage in diplomatic relations.

Khan underlined that with the normalization steps in question, Israel would carry its oppression to other Muslim countries.

Omer Ahmed, a tradesman in Islamabad, said Arab countries' steps to normalize their relations with Israel were wrong and that this situation would affect the future of Muslims.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) agreed to establish full diplomatic, cultural, and commercial relations with Israel after signing controversial agreements Sept. 15 at the White House.

The deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who say the accords ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.

Saudi Arabia is behind the agreement, which received full support from Egypt, Oman and Bahrain, according to the Palestinians.

Trump announced Friday that Sudan also agreed to open full diplomatic relations with Israel, making it the third nation in recent months after Bahrain and the UAE.

'Majority of Arabs oppose deals, recognition of Israel'

A vast majority of people in Arab countries are not in favor of normalizing ties with Israel without settling the Palestinian issue, according to a recently published survey.

Some 88% of over 28,000 respondents across 13 countries in the Middle East and North Africa opposed diplomatic recognition of Israel, findings of the annual Arab Opinion Index showed.

Only 6% supported formal recognition of Israel and 6% declined to answer, according to the data released last week.

The survey, conducted by the Doha-based Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, included in-person interviews with 28,288 individual respondents.

Respondents who opposed diplomatic ties with Israel based their positions on reasons relating mainly to Israel’s colonialist nature, racist and expansionist policies, and persistence in occupying Palestinian land.

The Arab Opinion Index, the largest public opinion survey carried out in the Arab world, was released amid a wave of normalization deals with Israel.

The UAE was the first to go down the contentious path, announcing a US-brokered agreement in August that was formalized in Washington on Sept. 15.

It was followed by Bahrain, despite widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who say the agreements are a betrayal of their cause.

The Palestinian Authority has said that any deal with Israel should be based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative and the principle of “land for peace,” not the “peace for peace” position pushed by Israel.