Musharraf adress to Jewish leaders a historic milestone

Pakistani President has said his country will take steps to build ties with Israel as the Middle East peace process progresses.

Pervez Musharraf made the comments at a ground breaking dinner meeting with members of the American Jewish Congress.

He is the first leader of a Muslim nation that has no diplomatic ties with Israel to hold a public dialogue with Jewish leaders.

Israel and Pakistan recently held talks in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

"Israel must come to terms with geopolitical realities and allow justice to prevail for the Palestinians," he said.

"I am convinced that peace in Palestine that does justice to both the Israelis and the Palestinians will bring to a close the sad chapter in the history of the Middle East [and] will revive the historical ties between Islam and Judaism," reports BBC.

Pakistan has been one of Israel's harshest critics in the Muslim world. But Musharraf said the strife since the creation of Israel in 1948 was an "aberration in the long history of Muslim-Jewish cooperation and coexistence."

Islam, Judaism and Christianity shared prophets and spiritual practices, but were now needlessly "pitted against each other" -- a situation it would take courage to reverse, he said. His remarks received several standing ovations from the audience of about 350 people.

Musharraf said suggestions that Islam rejected tolerance and promoted terrorism amounted to a "hate campaign" against the faith. But he acknowledged that most people involved in terrorism, and most who suffered from it, were Muslims.

"Obviously there is a deep disturbance and malaise within Islamic societies, which has become especially acute in recent years," he said. Troubles in Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan and Iraq caused "anger, desperation and humiliation," he added, informs Reuters.

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