Al Aqsa has been abandoned by those who profess the leadership of the Muslim World

Arabs marginalize the Palestinian issue

By —— Bio and Archives--August 6, 2017

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The Al-Aqsa Mosque controversy has exposed, once again, the non-centrality of the Palestinian issue in the overall Arab order of priorities.

Contrary to Western media headlines, Arab policy-makers and the Arab Street are not focused on Palestinian rights and Al Aqsa, but on their own chaotic, raging local and regional challenges, which are not related to the Palestinian issue.

Arabs have never shed blood – nor have Arabs dedicated their economic power - on behalf of Palestinians.

Since 1948, and in defiance of Western foreign policy, academia and media establishments, the Arab/Islamic agenda has transcended the Palestinian issue.

While showering the Palestinian issue with substantial talk, the Arab/Islamic walk has mostly been directed at other issues: the 1,400-year-old regional, intra-Arab/Islamic unpredictability, fragmentation, instability and intolerant violence; the Islamic Sunni terrorist machete at the throat of all pro-US Arab regimes; the clear and present danger, posed by Iran’s Ayatollahs, to the same regimes; the destructive role played by Qatar in the context of – and in assistance to - the Ayatollahs; the lethal, regional ripple effects of the disintegration of Iraq, Syria and Libya; the inherent, tectonic (disintegration) potential in every Arab regime; the impact of the global energy revolution on the potency of the Arab oil producing regimes; and the enhanced role of Israel in the battle against the aforementioned threats. 

The dramatic gap between the Arab walk and talk on behalf of Palestinians was particularly noticeable during the Israel-Palestinian wars of 1982 (in Lebanon), 1987-1991 (the 1st Intifada), 2000-2003 (2nd Intifada) and the Israel-Hamas wars of 2009, 2012 and 2014.

Arabs have never shed blood – nor have Arabs dedicated their economic power - on behalf of Palestinians.

Moreover, current Iraqi policy-makers and the Iraqi Street are well-aware of the intense Palestinian collaboration with the repressive regime of Saddam Hussein, which caused the Palestinian flight from Iraq following the fall of Saddam.  The Syrian Street has not taken kindly to the Palestinian support of the Assad regime, which has produced an expanding Palestinian emigration from Syria since the eruption of the civil war in 2011.

Limited, and negative role played by the Palestinian issue in Arab policy-making and the pursuit of peace

Furthermore, most Arab policy-makers consider the well-documented subversive, terroristic Palestinian track record - against fellow Arabs - to be a potential threat to domestic and regional stability.  The Arab aim has been to reduce the number of stormy spots in the Middle East, realizing that each eruption of violence resembles a rock thrown into a pool, generating ripple effects throughout the pool, as has been documented by the Arab Tsunami, which is simmering in every Arab country. Thus, violence west of the Jordan River could have an infectious impact east of the river, posing a deadly threat to the pro-US Hashemite regime, which could spread southward to Saudi Arabia and other pro-US Arab Gulf states.

In 1948-49 – as was the case in succeeding Arab-Israeli wars - Arab countries did not fight Israel on behalf of Palestinians.  Therefore, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt did not share the spoils of the 1948-49 war with Palestinians, prohibiting Palestinian activities in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza.  In fact, a Palestinian Department was established, by the Arab League, in 1949, to be dissolved in 1959.

Sacrificing the complex reality of Israel-Arab relations on the altar of simplistic solutions – suggesting that the Palestinian issue is a core cause of Arab policy-making - has failed to advance the cause of peace.

In order to advance the cause of Israel-Arab peace, one should study the lessons of the Al Aqsa Mosque controversy, which highlight the limited (and negative) role played by the Palestinian issue in Arab policy-making and the pursuit of peace.

Yoram Ettinger -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Ambassador (Retired) Yoram Ettinger is an insider on US-Israel relations, Mideast politics and overseas investments in Israel’s high tech. He is a consultant to members of the Israeli Cabinet and Knesset, and regularly briefs US legislators and their staff.  A graduate of UCLA and undergraduate at UTEP, he served amongst other things, as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel’s Embassy in Washington. He is the editor of “Straight from the Jerusalem Cloakroom and Boardroom” newsletters on issues of national security and overseas investments in Israel’s high-tech.

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