“Sudan has no reason to be in a state of war with any country,” Amjad Farid, Mr. Hamdok’s deputy chief of staff, said in an interview. “But normalization with Israel is a complicated issue with social and political dimensions that go back decades, and are linked to the history of the Arab region.”
However, other senior officials, some from the military, said they favored normalization with Israel, especially if it helped lift the stigma of the United States’ terrorism designation.
“Sudan suffered for 30 years from a dictatorship that gave a bad image to the country,” said Lt. Gen. Ibrahim Gabir of the Sovereign Council, a military-led body that oversees the civilian-led government. “Now we are progressing well, talking here and there. We don’t see any problem to have peace with any country, including Israel.”
An economic assistance package, an enticement to sweeten recognition of Israel, could throw the country a vital economic lifeline if it is large enough, officials say.
But others warn that popular hostility toward Israel remains high inside the country, and that a rushed deal on Israel could generate new support for the Islamist forces that were marginalized after the ouster of Mr. al-Bashir.
“No one wants a repetition of the 1983 Israeli-Lebanese peace agreement, which, signed by a Lebanese government without popular legitimacy, collapsed in less than a year,” Payton Knopf, of the United States Institute of Peace, and Jeffrey Feltman, of the Brookings Institution, wrote in a report on Thursday.
Sudan and Israel have a long and complicated history.
Israel was a prime mover in the effort to get Sudan included in the list of states sponsoring terrorism, largely because of its close ties to the militant Islamist movement Hamas, which controls Gaza and is opposed to Israel’s existence, and Iran.