Monday, August 17, 2020

  • Monday, August 17, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

The fallout from the UAE/Israel announcement of normalizing relations continues to come, and it has shaken up long standing assumptions about the Middle East and the Muslim world.

Palestinian foreign policy has been largely based on the myth of Arab and Muslim states’ unity in supporting whatever they demand about Israel. Yet that unity has been only on paper for well over a decade. Already back in 2010, the Arab League pledged a half billion dollars to the Palestinians to “defend Jerusalem,” whatever that means, and they didn’t pay a dime.

Smart leaders would have noticed that their Arab brethren’s support was paper thin and would plan accordingly for how to deal with the day that the Arab rhetorical support would follow their monetary support. But Mahmoud Abbas is not a smart man – great at seizing and consolidating power, not too bright at seeing the trends that have been staring at him in the face.

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Instead, Palestinian leaders and their media would pump up stories about support from Islamic extremist groups in Pakistan or trade unions in Jordan and pretend that this meant that there was universal consensus on Arab and Muslim support for their cause. They didn’t make the simple realization that if Arab and Muslim nations refused to invest money in the Palestinian cause it is because they no longer saw that cause as their own.

Arab media love to quote the fake Protocols of the Elders of Zion, saying that the Jewish plan to dominate the world includes fracturing Arab unity.  What we saw over this past week will be looked upon as proof of this plan. But it is nothing so nefarious: it is simply Arab and Muslim nations acting in their own self-interest rather than subsume themselves under a unified position. The same thing has been happening in the EU: nationalism is ascendant.

Most Arab nations have not made a statement one way or another about the UAE deal. Egypt, Oman and Bahrain support it, Libya and Yemen oppose, Jordan and Qatar issued cautious statements and the rest of the Arab world has been silent. What we certainly have not seen is the chorus of automatic anti-Israel statements that the PLO could have orchestrated only a year ago.

The larger group of Muslim states have been similarly divergent in their opinions. Mauritania’s statement of support for the agreement is perhaps more explicit in explaining why: it said that “the United Arab Emirates possesses absolute sovereignty and complete independence in conducting its relations and assessing its positions in accordance with its national interests, the interests of Arabs and Muslims and their just causes.”

In other words, members of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation are unhappy at being told what positions to take by these organizations. They want to act in their own self-interest, not based on what Palestinians have been telling these organizations to parrot.

The Palestinian stranglehold on the pan-Arab and pan-Islamic organizations has been so seemingly strong that Saeb Erakat arrogantly called on the Secretary General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, to issue a statement condemning the Emirati-Israeli agreement or to resign from his post. His hubris is telling – it is one thing to demand the condemnation of Israel which costs members of the Arab league nothing, it is another to demand the condemnation of a major Arab member. The PLO is so ossified in its ways that it continues to treat the Arab League and the OIC as its own personal platform. His threats just marginalize the PLO even further.

As it is, the PLO demand for an emergency Arab League meeting has so far gone nowhere and the organization has not commented on the UAE-Israel agreement, which has not gone unnoticed in the Arab world.

The UAE has forced into the open what observers have recognized for years: there is no Arab or Muslim unity. The Arab and Muslim world  used the Palestine issue to give the impression of such unity because it was the only thing they could agree on. The PLO took full advantage of this and took virtual control of these groups to make it appear to be a leader of the Arab world. But behind the scenes, Arabs were sick of Palestinian rejectionism and refusal to accept a state offered by Israel, and it was only a matter of time before some Arab states realized that aligning with Israel is a better idea than being led by the nose by the Palestinian leadership.

The Palestinian reaction is one of horror at the realization that their position as the ones who set the agenda has been toppled. The support and silence of most of the Arab and Muslim world towards the UAE/Israel agreement has shattered their confidence and destroyed their strategy, yet they have no other because they were too overconfident to create one.



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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون



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