What Happened to Arab Support for the Palestinians?

(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University) Dr. George N. Tzogopoulos - Sarah J. Feuer, Research Fellow, Institute for National Security Studies With some states still reeling from the aftershocks of the "Arab Spring," a resultant prioritization of domestic security and economic concerns on the part of key countries such as Egypt, as well as intra-Arab disputes that continue to simmer or intensify, the geopolitical bandwidth of many Arab countries has narrowed at the expense of the Palestinian cause. Jonathan Schanzer, Senior Vice President, Foundation for Defense of Democracies The Obama administration's decision to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011 and then enter into the Iran nuclear deal in 2015 rattled the Sunni Arab states to their core. Washington undertook two decisions that threatened these countries directly. That's when the Sunni Arab world began to draw closer to Israel, the region's strongest military power. Michael Wilner, Washington bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post For the first time, Israelis benefit from direct communication and collaboration with Arab leaders who give them an opportunity to make their case, show their own humanity, and share their side of the story. Arab capitals gained respect for Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he so publicly confronted former President Barack Obama over the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, and have since viewed him as a reliable partner in intelligence-sharing. Hillel Frisch, Professor of Political Studies and Middle East Studies at Bar-Ilan University One of the few achievements of Yasser Arafat's otherwise destructive leadership of the Palestinian movement was his ability to achieve a measure of independence from Arab state meddling in Palestinian affairs, while at the same time demanding and receiving their support in international fora. The political, ideological, and geographical split between the PA and Hamas has completely erased Arafat's legacy in this regard. Neri Zilber, adjunct fellow of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy While not as central as it perhaps once was in Arab capitals, the Palestinian question still resonates widely. Arab leaders - from Egypt's Sisi to Jordan's Abdullah to Saudi's Salman - consistently emphasize the need for a two-state solution based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, including east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. James Dorsey, Senior Fellow, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore The UAE and Saudi Arabia are working behind the scenes, so far with limited success, to reengineer Palestinian politics in their mold. With Turkey having adopted the mantle of the Islamic world's leader, and Jordan refusing to align itself with the Saudi-UAE approach, Palestine remains on the agenda even if the dynamics have changed.

2018-11-16 00:00:00

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