Israeli Banditry, Arab Inaction in Jerusalem

Published May 10th, 2021 - 07:39 GMT
Israeli police and Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem
Israeli police clash with Palestinians in Jerusalem (AFP)
The punitive violence meted out by the Israelis has exposed the fraudulent Abraham Accords and a reminder that the Arab League is beyond redemption.

It was not that long ago at all when a number of Arab states, with the United Arab Emirates leading the vanguard, announced that they would be normalising ties with the State of Israel in what became known as the Abraham Accords

Part of their justification was that, by establishing relations with Tel Aviv, Arab states would be able to apply diplomatic pressure to curb the Jewish state’s more violent excesses against its native Arab inhabitants.

If there is one silver lining to the terrible violence that is currently being meted out by the Israeli security forces against peaceful worshippers in the Holy Sanctuary of the Al Aqsa Mosque as well as against the inhabitants of East Jerusalem, it is that the signatories to the Abraham Accords have been exposed.

The lie of the Abraham Accords

Even the use of the name “Abraham”, to denote a shared spiritual heritage between Israel and its new Arab friends through the Prophet Ibrahim, is an insult. Its aim is to provide a religious veneer of legitimacy to what is essentially the normalisation of oppression and violence against the Palestinian people, actions that are decidedly unholy.

In the past few weeks alone, the Israeli authorities have sought to displace and evict the Palestinian inhabitants of Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and have over the past few days launched an assault using armed and armoured riot police on thousands of worshippers at the iconic Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

The attacks on the mosque occurred during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, and on what is believed by many Muslims to be the holiest night of that month, Laylat ul Qadr, further punctuating the myth of the “Abraham'' connection touted by Israel and its Arab allies.

In one particularly shameless incident, a Jewish settler told a Palestinian woman in Sheikh Jarrah as he was dispossessing her of her home and her life: “If I don’t steal your home, someone else will steal it.” This bare-faced banditry is precisely the kind of culture the Israeli state encourages among its Jewish settler denizens, and it creates an atmosphere of competition to see who can steal the most land from the native population.

However, the true shame lies not with the Israelis. The Israeli authorities have never been shy about showing the world the ugly face of Zionist colonialism and have frequently behaved with total disregard to international law and commonly understood moral norms.

The lion’s share of the shame lies with the Arab rulers who sit back and do nothing beyond holding meetings and paying lip service to the Palestinian cause.

While Arab populations definitely seethe at what is happening in Jerusalem - and the blood of innocents being spilled by the Israeli state that defiles the Holy Land in its undeniable evil - the lack of action by their political leadership will only serve to fuel societal discord and upheaval as Arabs feel continuously humiliated. 

The inaction and even submission of their elites and the impunity with which Tel Aviv behaves as it dispossesses and murders their Palestinian brothers and sisters is unforgivable.

What is the point of the Arab League?

In an attempt to rally Arab political leaders to the cause, the Palestinian leadership have requested an emergency summit of the Arab League. The meeting will be held this week to discuss Israel’s recent violations of Palestinian rights and its escalating violence against them.

The sad reality, however, is that the Arab League will do absolutely nothing.

Even if we give Arab rulers the benefit of the doubt and assume they genuinely wish to help the Palestinians, they are too terrified of opposing Israel to do or say anything substantial. They will look at what happened to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, who was known to support a number of Palestinian factions, or even King Faisal of Saudi Arabia before him who was ultimately assassinated not long after triggering the 1973 oil crisis in retaliation against states who supported Israel in the Ramadan War of the same year.

Their toothless condemnations will only be viewed by Israel as being par for the course and a reversion to the usual “condemn but cooperate” modus operandi, despite the fact that the United Nations has said that the Sheikh Jarrah evictions could amount to war crimes.

In fact, the more substantial diplomatic actions to hold Israel accountable have all come from outside the Arab world, further delegitimising the Arab regimes who claim guardianship over the Palestinian cause.

While there have been attempts to restore ties between the two countries after years of tensions relating to Israeli violations in Palestine, Turkey has criticised Israel’s actions in Jerusalem and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Israel as a “cruel terrorist state”.

While the Biden administration refuses to condemn Israel, that has not prevented members of Congress from condemning Israeli violations, even if they refrained from using terms such as “occupation” and “ethnic cleansing” to describe the harsh reality of what is happening. 

The sole exception to this was Representative Betty McCollum who said “Not $1 of US taxpayer funds should be used to violate the human rights of the Palestinian people living under Israel’s military occupation.”

What all this serves to demonstrate is the abject failure of the Arab League to do anything of use for the Palestinians, or even to act upon the aspirations of the populations they rule over. It is therefore time to stop expecting anything from the League and to start forcing them into the ignominy they deserve by seeking solutions elsewhere.

Tallha Abdulrazaq is an award-winning academic and writer, with a specialism in Middle Eastern strategic and security affairs.

This article has been adapted from its original source.


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