Israel’s Minister of Culture and Sports, Miri Regev, was not wrong when she said that the country is experiencing an “Israeli Spring”. This minister in particular experienced things she never even dreamt of when the doors to a supposedly Arab country, the United Arab Emirates, were opened wide to her and her path was strewn with roses. She and her sports team were welcomed in the warmest of ways, and the Emiratis went as far as taking her to visit one of their mosques.
Of course, no one mentioned Al-Aqsa Mosque or pointed out that it is one of the major mosques in Islam. It was Regev, remember, who showed such great disrespect when she wore a dress to the Cannes Film Festival that had a picture of the mosque on it. This dress was horrifically racist and completely disregarded the sanctity of Muslim holy sites, especially those occupied by Israel. This flagrant provocation caused indignation and outrage across the world, but the UAE leaders in Abu Dhabi were unmoved and showed her great reverence and respect.
It was not only Abu Dhabi which spoke Hebrew, danced to the tunes of the Israeli national anthem, flew Israel’s flag in its skies and dispensed an atmosphere of an Israeli Spring. The Israeli earthquake shook the core of the Gulf, hitting three countries in just one day, with arguably the most violent tremor happening in Oman, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plane landed in Muscat, having flown over Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the UAE. Gulf airspace was open to Netanyahu and his visit was welcomed warmly in the Gulf.
The Omani Foreign Minister, Yusuf Bin Alawai, described Netanyahu’s arrival as a natural visit from a Middle Eastern country to talk about resolving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It was clearly lost on his hosts that while Sultan Qaboos greeted the Israeli leader and his wife, Israeli soldiers opened fire on unarmed Palestinians during the 32nd week of their Great March of Return protests, killing eight of them. The brave Palestinian people were left to face the Israelisw on their own after the Arab leaders embraced the enemy under the pretext of what everyone knows is a bogus peace. Meanwhile, the Arab people have surrendered to the status quo by standing by and watching, perhaps with sorrow and pain, the almost daily massacre of Palestinians by the so-called Israel Defence Forces.
Maybe the Israeli Prime Minister found the solution he was looking for during his visit to an Arab state with which his own country has no diplomatic relations. As soon as he returned to occupied Palestine, he ordered his army to bomb the Gaza Strip, and yet we are supposed to believe that the purpose of such visits is to make peace.
In fact, Israel has its own reasons for visiting Oman and holding secret meetings — the details of which are leaked conveniently to the Israeli media —between Israel and Arab military and political officials. The cover for these is the normalisation of sports and cultural events in Qatar, the UAE and Bahrain; the latter is now seeking to establish diplomatic relations with Israel after a series of exchange visits.
The most recent of these was by Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid Bin Ahmed. During his meeting with Netanyahu, he praised him as a great leader with a clear position on the importance of regional stability. The objective of normalisation is to change the Arab nations’ perception and position on Palestine in general, and the Israeli occupation in particular. The aim is to create a new Arab consciousness that does not consider Israel to be the enemy and even goes as far as considering it as a friend, like the surrounding Arab countries. This is consistent with the Omani minister’s remarks about Israel being a state in the Middle East and so it is not strange for its leaders to visit Muscat.
The Arab media funded by the Gulf States are also carrying out this task. Furthermore, a liberal Arab elite was created specifically to play this role and achieve this goal. It was formed under the supervision of the Zionist-American intelligence agencies within US research centres funded by Gulf money; the aptly-named “petrodollar elite” is making every effort to redirect the compass away from Israel towards Iran, Turkey, and Hamas.
This elite is also trying to promote normalisation with the Israeli occupation. We watched on our television screens as the Egyptian presenter Amr Adeeb raised his hand to salute Netanyahu for bombing the Gaza Strip. We also saw Tawfiq Okasha hold his shoe threateningly to Hamas while Ahmed Moussa incited the Egyptian authorities to launch an air strike on the besieged Palestinian territory. We have also witnessed many other shameful scenes that embarrass the Arab nations, who still see Israel as the historical enemy of both the Arab and Muslim Ummahs, and are irked by the normalisation occurring on the ground.
These petrodollar elites seek to rewrite history, falsify it and disgrace all historical symbols associated with Palestine. They even seek to harm the Palestinian people themselves and accuse them of selling their land, despite this great nation’s sacrifices made over the past century to resist the most vicious and violent occupation in history.
We should not be too surprised that the Arab rulers are racing to establish normal relations with Israel, though, because the Zionist state is protecting their thrones, which the Arab Spring revolutions almost toppled. The revolutions would have succeeded if not for the major conspiracy plotted in the dark Zionist-American intelligence offices based in the UAE. It was from there that the counter-revolutions were launched.
The Palestinian cause was at the heart of the Arab revolutions as one of the most important issues. Palestinian flags were held high during the protests in various Arab capitals.
The conscience of the Arab people, as opposed to the Arab leaders, was demonstrated after the 25 January Revolution in Egypt when the Israeli Embassy in Cairo was surrounded, its flag was taken down, it was forced to close and its staff had to leave the country. The memory of the young man climbing to the nineteenth floor and taking down the flag at the embassy and burning it to applause from the crowd is still fresh in our minds. That was a wonderfully spontaneous incident that represented the real feelings of the Arab world and stunned those who have been fooled by the false claims of peace with Israel.
The Arab Spring was moving away from normalisation. That is why we now find that those who are fighting against freedom for the people have formed an axis hostile to change and liberation, using the UAE as their base. They are also those who are most keen on normalising relations with Israel, the so-called Israeli Spring.
We did not need the Washington Post to tell us that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman turned to Benjamin Netanyahu to save him from his predicament following the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by putting pressure on the US to close the case and keep him in his position in the Kingdom. According to the newspaper, Netanyahu communicated with senior officials in the Trump administration to support Bin Salman as an important strategic partner in the region.
Netanyahu’s first public comment on the issue came during the Craiova Forum in Bulgaria a month after Khashoggi’s killing: “What happened at the Istanbul [Saudi] Consulate was horrendous and it should be duly dealt with. But at the same time, it is very important for the stability of the region and the world that Saudi Arabia remains stable.” He added that a way must be found to achieve both goals. Why? “Because the larger problem I believe is Iran, and we have to make sure that Iran does not continue the malign activities that it has been engaged in over the last few weeks in Europe.”
Since the reckless Bin Salman became Crown Prince, he has been growing closer to Israel; what his predecessors did in secret in terms of communicating with Israel, he is now doing openly. He has supported the “deal of the century” and pressured Mahmoud Abbas to accept it and forget Jerusalem, as well as agree to Abu Dis as an alternative capital for the Palestinian state. The de facto Saudi leader’s secret visit to Tel Aviv last year and his meeting with Israeli officials — not denied by the Saudi government — confirms that this rash young man has been promoted under Israel’s supervision for its own benefit. It is difficult, almost impossible, for Israel to give up this strategic treasure, and therefore it will do its best to rescue him from falling.
Nevertheless, God’s plan reigns supreme and events in the coming days may surprise everyone. One thing is certain, though; following the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi on 2 October, the world is a very different place to what it was before that fateful day in Istanbul.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.