editorials

Arabs show they haven’t abandoned Palestinians

Countries in the Middle East should re-evaluate US role in future Arab-Israeli peacemaking

Gulf News
16:47 January 8, 2018

The decision by Arab states to embark on a diplomatic drive to persuade the United Nations to recognise a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, on territory occupied by Israel in the 1967 war, could not have come sooner. At no time since the Oslo Accords has a two-state solution looked more under threat as it does now, especially after the decision by US President Donald Trump on December 6 last year to recognise occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and relocate America’s embassy from Tel Aviv to the occupied city.

A committee comprising the UAE, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinians and headed by Jordan was set up after an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo following Trump’s move, and urged Washington to abandon its decision. Demoralisation has set in among the Palestinians. They live under the feeling of abandonment, and think the broader Arab and Muslim world doesn’t care about them anymore. The fact that leading Arab states are pushing for a UN resolution on the issue of Palestinian statehood should give them some succour.

At the same time, given the clear pro-Israel bias that America has displayed in its involvement in the “peace process”, Arab states should re-evaluate US role in future Arab-Israeli peacemaking. It is also in this context that the Palestinian leadership’s push to gain the European Union’s recognition for an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital must be seen. EU recognition will help revive the internationally-backed two-state solution and also provide a fillip to the Palestinian bid to get full UN membership. The Palestinians are right to try and seek a multilateral sponsorship of the peace process.

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