The Arab leaders’ reliance on the US role in creating peace in the Middle East in general, and Palestine in particular, has failed them. Despite America’s continued bias in favour of Israel, the Arab and Palestinian leaders have handed over their cards at a time that can be seen as “lacking options” in order to impose an “unreliable” agreement that allows the Palestinian people to determine their fate in their independent state on the 1967 borders.
This is in accordance with the so-called two-state solution, based on the Oslo Accords, which took the Palestinian cause off the international path based on international legitimacy, and put it on the side paths that have achieved nothing but limited autonomy for Palestinians in part of their land for some of their people. This has led to the international community, in the form of the UN, to put to one side their decisions regarding the Palestinian cause, including resolutions 181 related to partition, 194 on the refugees’ right of return and 242 regarding Israel’s withdrawal from the areas it has occupied and calling on it to refrain from seizing the property of others by force. This was either done deliberately or by accident at a time when confidence was lost in the power of the truth, and we, as Arabs and Palestinians, gave in to US domination.
“Long live America… Down with America”. This is how the Arabs feel on the inside. We go from the Trump we “like” with his hostility towards Iran, to the Trump we hate when we are suffering blow after blow regarding the rights of the Palestinians. To be fair, it is not him who is manipulating our feelings, and perhaps he does not seek to do so and it isn’t even on his agenda. From the start of his career, before he was on the list of presidential candidates, to his political developments and his electoral platform, he never expressed anything to do with an Arab or “Islamic” dream.
Then he came up with his ominous promise on 6 December last year to move the US Embassy to occupied Jerusalem. His “charming” daughter Ivanka duly opened the Embassy on 14 May and, in doing so, gave official blessing to Israel’s killing of at least 60 Palestinians on the same day in Gaza.
The US is thus the first country to recognise the self-declared capital of a “Jewish state” similar in so many ways to the Islamic Republic of Iran, including its attitude towards the Arabs. This is the state towards which the US is hostile and seeks to contain its regional role and influence in order to achieve international stability and peace, and to spare the world a nuclear-armed Iran.
While we turn to the US to rid us of Iran’s crimes and military and doctrinal occupation of Syria and Iraq, the same party supports the Israeli occupation, justifies its crimes in Palestine, safeguards its interests in the UN Security Council, and strengthens its military and economic power at the expense of confiscated Arab capabilities which are systematically destroyed in favour of Israel’s advancement. This alone justifies the questions about the legitimacy of the Trump administration playing any role in establishing peace and security in the Arab region, given its complete bias towards Israel.
Talk about Washington’s “betrayal” is only an excuse for the grave mistake made by some Arab countries reliant upon the US. We seem to have overlooked the fact that the US has never claimed to care about the interests and rights of the Arabs. On the contrary, it has always stressed that it only cares about its own interests in the region, which include the interests of Israel. Hence, those who counted on the US and built their policies based on their delusions must take some responsibility in this regard.
Some of these delusions may have been based on statements made by former US President Barack Obama and his administration, but he bears a lot of responsibility for the Syrian conflict. Obama indicated clearly that it was not concerned with ending the conflict or getting rid of the Assad regime. His Secretary of State, John Kerry, was silent in the face of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s explanations of the Geneva Declaration and America’s disruption of the Geneva negotiations. The US facilitated and acted as a cover for Russia’s political and military role in Syria. It also facilitated Iran’s political and economic takeover of Iraq. The country whose slogan is “Death to America” wouldn’t have managed to reach the Syria-Israel border if it wasn’t for an unspoken US decision to utilise Iran’s presence in order to redirect the Arab priorities from confronting Israel to confronting Iran.
It is now clear that the US did not want to end the Israel-Palestine conflict by means of the Oslo Accords, but rather to change the course of the conflict and limit the Palestinians’ goals and restrict them within the confines of the Palestinian Authority presidential compound in Ramallah. The same applies to the conflict in Syria.
The US administration, which began interfering in the Syrian revolution during its first weeks in 2011, could have used its influence to end the conflict and force the regime to agree to a fair and immediate political settlement. Instead, it decided to take the longer path, which remains much more difficult for the Syrians, in order to deplete their power, expand the number of parties involved and create chaos across the entire region. This is the context in which America has been allowed to celebrate Jerusalem, one of the most dangerous portfolios in the Arab-Israeli conflict, as the capital of the “Jewish state”.
This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on 21 May 2018
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.