The US-Arab alliance is one of the strangest and most interesting in the world, perhaps even in history. It is certainly the most one-sided, whereby America takes everything from its Arab allies and gives them nothing in return. The US attitude is disrespectful, untactful and inflexible. Washington gives Arab governments nothing to work with and nothing to give to their people, not even a fig leaf for appearances’ sake.
The most recent example of this disrespect by the US was its open contempt for its Arab allies when it voted against the draft UN Security Council resolution to end the Israeli occupation of part of the occupied Palestinian territories. This resolution is based on what is known as “international legitimacy” despite the fact that the Palestinians went to the Security Council stripped of all their historical rights. However, this did not help them or gain the acceptance of Washington, which seems to disregard the Palestinians in particular and the Arabs in general.
The US-Arab alliance is farcical, a tragi-comedy full of contradictions. The Arab governments put 99 per cent of their cards in the hands of the US, which in turn gives 100 per cent of its cards to Israel. The Arab governments thus put more or less all of their cards in Israeli hands.
More tragic and disturbing is the fact that the Arab governments, including Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, are desperate for US approval, so they give the Obama administration what it wants in the hope that the president will be kind enough to give them something in return. Unfortunately for them, the White House has never given them anything of significance, no matter how small. Is there a stranger bunch of allies? Of course not. However, if this one-sided alliance protects Arab governments from being overthrown and gives them “preventative shots” against democracy without having any side effects, then they believe that the price is worth it, even if that means conceding all of Palestine from the river to the sea.
It is sad that the Palestinian people are fighting their struggle alone, persevering alone and, in some instances, triumphing alone. They are also crying alone, bleeding alone and suffering under siege alone. Their “closest brothers”, meanwhile, are contributing to their suffering, displacement and murder; Gaza provides perhaps the greatest evidence of this.
America only sees Israel in the region; Israel’s security and interests are paramount. Israel is America’s only trusted strategic ally, while the others are nothing more than followers who must accept whatever crumbs are thrown their way.
The resolution submitted by Abbas’s government reflects the Arabs’ miserable situation. It lacked the minimum of Palestinian demands, all of which are provided for in existing international resolutions. This irked the Palestinian left-wing, including the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), the Palestine Communist Party and the Palestinian National Initiative; it was also rejected by the Islamic movements, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The draft was “moderate”, as stated by Abbas and the Arab governments, and met all of Israel’s demands except for ending its occupation of some parts of the West Bank. Despite this, Israel rejected the resolution, as did the US administration and Australia; Britain’s rejection was expressed in its silence, alongside Nigeria and Rwanda, all of whom were influenced by pro-Israel and American lobbyists.
The question left to ask the Arab governments allied with the US is simple: what’s next? What will you do now that America, Israel’s guardian and protector, has basically announced that it is opposed to ending the occupation? What are you going to do after the veto was used against giving the Palestinians some of their own land back despite Abbas’s concession of Palestinian air, sea, land and security?
The truth is that the Arab governments will not demand anything from their American ally and the Palestinians will have to bear life in the refugee camps for another 100 years or fight alone, just as they did in Gaza. If the Palestinians as a people die, then the Arabs will be relieved of them; if they triumph, then the Arabs will be rid of the cause.
Until this happens, though, will the Arab governments dare to demand some respect from their American ally, even if it is entirely false just to show their people? I doubt it.
Translated from Al-Sharq newspaper, 1 January 2015
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.