Analysis: 'Friendly' Arab States Condemn Israel Over Al Aqsa Intifada

Published April 24th, 2022 - 07:59 GMT
Israeli police in Al Aqsa
An Israeli police officer lifts his baton in front of the Dome of the Rock during clashes at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound on April 15, 2022. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

The ongoing clashes in the Al Aqsa mosque compound prove it is the "Palestinianism of the Al Aqsa and Jerusalem" that is central to the ongoing conflict and Israeli attempts to forge ties with Arab countries to circumvent the Palestinians just will not work.

This is becoming clear to all. The moves by the current Israeli government to establish better relations with Arab countries through the ongoing visits of Israeli leaders and ministers to different Arab capitals and resorts - something which has been done over the past eight months - is a pipe dream.

Further, it Looks also as if the Abraham accords which Israel signed with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco are becoming unstuck because when "push comes to shove" Arab countries will always side with the Palestinians even if they prefer not to because solving the Palestinian issue is the central tenet to any solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The present strife in Al Aqsa shows this is exactly the case starting from Jordan which is seen as the custodian of the holy places in Occupied Jerusalem to Egypt - the latter, the first to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1978 to the former in 1994 - and now the Abraham accord assignees who have developed very active relations with Israel in a very short time.

However, all these countries are today condemning Israeli actions in the Al Aqsa compound, the raids, stun grenades, teargas, and the constant beatings with batons and truncheons as well as the boot kicking live under the guise of the social media and increased in ferocity during the holy month of Ramadan.

The Arab governments, the so-called Israel’s new friends could not but react with dismay and abhorrence to what was seen on television and register their protests to the Israelis through their newly set up offices in these capitals and summoning their officials. Jordan did that, and the case was the same with the UAE and the rest of the Arab countries whose relations with the Jewish state was thought to be top notch.

But today the issue of Arab, Palestinian, Muslim Jerusalem is proving to be a redline.

Despite the Abu Dhabi-Tel Aviv rapport and the joint economic projects that are now hitched between the two countries Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Co-operation, summoned Amir Hayek, Israel's ambassador to the UAE and spoke her mind against the latest Israeli police actions in Al Aqsa and its courtyard.

Further, UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed spoke directly with his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid about the Emirates concern about the violent Israeli actions against the Palestinians. 

In Jordan Foreign Minister summoned the Israeli Chargé d’Affaires in Amman Sami Abu Janeb and gave him a letter to the Israeli government demanding an “immediate stop to violations” in Al Aqsa compound. Earlier, Jordan's Lower House MP's demanded the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in Amman. In a special meeting they held and attended by Prime Minister Beshir Al Khasawneh he praised the Palestinians of al Aqsa calling them as standing tall in the face of  " who are defiling al-Aqsa Mosque while under the security of the Israeli occupation government.”

This upset the Israeli government as made clear by its Prime Minister in a Jerusalem Post editorial that the stands of Jordan particularly angered him because of the friendly relations that had been developing between the two countries and the recent cooperation in the field of water and gas. However, this shows the friendly relations have their limits when it comes to Jerusalem and the Muslim Holy Places which must be under Arab control and that Jordan will continue to take stands in line with its interests, those of the Arab nation and that of the Palestinians. 

This was also made clear by Egypt which it condemned Israeli offensive actions in Al Aqsa as well as Sudan and Morocco, two of the signatories to the Abraham Accord. The stand of the two countries remain firm on the issue of Palestinian statehood and independence. Despite, its close of relations as of late Morocco took a firm diplomatic stand. 

The Moroccan Foreign Ministry wrote when the first attack on the holy places occurred in mid-April that  "This blatant attack and systematic provocation during the holy month of Ramdan....will stoke hatred and extremism and undermine chances to revive the peace process in the region," it said in a statement.

Despite its resumption of diplomatic ties with Israel in December 2020 Morocco's King Mohammad chairs the Al Quds Committee at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and feels the Jerusalem must be protected. The OIC issued a statement of condemnation at the time of the first raids and incursions into the Al Aqsa when at least 152 Palestinians were injured by Israeli rubber and gas bullets.

Further, there is a renewed unity among Arab countries regarding the Jordan custodianship of Muslim Holy Places of Jerusalem as emphasized by the latest meeting of King Abdullah, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed Ben Zayed with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi in Cairo. The three leaders said Israel must not do anything to change the status quo of Jerusalem and to stop violating its religious sanctity. 

Thus, Al Aqsa and Palestinian protests are creating renewed appraisal of developing Arab-Israeli relations that seemed to have been going smoothly right up till this Ramadan. We will wait further to see how regional relations will be altered to what can be referred to as the latest Al Aqsa Intifada.

Israel is not at all happy because the protests are at the very least creating a jolt in her relations with Arab countries. It was only last month the Abraham Accord assignees met with the Israeli Foreign Minister in the Negev Desert for the first time. Such a chummy relations is now being put to the test. 

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