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The plastic summit

Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud in New York, US on 27 March 2018 [Mohammed Elshamy/Anadolu Agency]

Speaking at the Arab Summit, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, mistakenly called ballistic missiles, plastic missiles. It would have been more accurate to call the summit itself ‘plastic’ due its emptiness and worthlessness.

It was former Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, who used the term ‘plastic’ to describe the 2002 Arab Peace plan – that was proposed by then Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz at the Arab summit at the time. The plan would have provided for the normalisation of Israel under condition of its withdrawal to the June 4th 1967 borders. However, despite its evident failure it has been re-proposed by the delegates to Dhahran.

The return of a failed plan speaks to a deeper truth in current Saudi-Israel relations. Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz, called this, 29th Arab Summit the “Jerusalem Summit”, out of supposed sympathy for the Palestinian cause, it was his son, Mohammad bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the country who has effectively sold Jerusalem in order to secure his place on the throne.

#Jerusalem

Indeed, Mohammad bin Salman is the one who agreed to the ‘deal of the century’ proposed by Trump which allowed Jerusalem to be recognised it as the eternal capital of Israel.

It was also MBS, as Saudi Arabia’s Eminence Grise is widely known, who invited the president of the floundering Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas to a meeting only to threaten him and force him to forget about Jerusalem. Moreover, MBS also tried to prevent Abbas from attending the Jerusalem summit held by the OIC in Istanbul despite the widespread international support for the Palestinian position.

READ: Arab summit calls for probe into Syria chemical attacks

Yet this plastic summit cannot dispel the global significance of two other important events: First, the Great Return March, which restored the Palestinian cause to the forefront of international events and revived the refugee issue. Second is the American-British-French strike on Syria.

Neither event were mentioned at all in the closing statement. It was as if the summit supported the foreign attack on an Arab country and endorsed the killing of Palestinians marching in Gaza. (Despite my complete disgust and rejection of the murderous Syrian regime I must also reject and condemn an attack on any fellow Arab country, just as I condemn Bashar Al-Assad for his use of chemical weapons against his own people.)

Since the summit’s host, Saudi Arabia, so concerned with Iran and its ballistic missiles, one of the comical aspects of this mockery of a summit is the fact that when Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi mentioned these missiles and wanted to flatter Saudi Arabia and denounce these missiles, he said, “Egypt will not accept that Yemeni elements can fire upon Saudi Arabia’s territory with ballistic missiles”. However he accidentally said “plastic” instead of “ballistic”.

READ: Jordan’s King Abdullah stresses Muslims’ eternal right to Jerusalem

Iran is the common enemy between Saudi Arabia and Israel, as repeatedly stated by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, most recently during his latest visit to the US.

Thus, overall the Dhahran summit came up with one historic decision: peace with Israel and confronting Iran’s sectarian project.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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