An Arab League Summit — the 31st — has just been held for the first time in three years. Arab summits haven’t been missed by anyone, and there will no doubt be meetings behind closed doors in years to come, to which nobody will pay any attention. Such get-togethers are rotten to the core, not least because the Arab League has basically been brain dead since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. It has been buried on a number of occasions: the revolution and the Russian-Iranian occupation in Syria; the Saudi invasion of Yemen; the ongoing Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip; the desecration of Al-Aqsa Mosque; and Israel’s Judaisation of Jerusalem. To this list can be added Arab-Israeli normalisation deals. The Arab League did not utter a word about these issues, because the dead can’t speak. Its remains are kept in check by the Israel-friendly regimes.
The Arab League, of course, has never been known to be effective on any Arab issue. It took no firm position on Donald Trump’s recognition of a “united Jerusalem” as the “eternal capital” of the occupation state and the transfer of the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Nor did it take a firm stance on Israel’s annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights. No inter-Arab conflicts have been resolved. On the contrary, the league tended to exacerbate them, depending on which axes were pulling the strings and the dominance of one axis over another. This was obvious when the “counter-revolutionary” axis became dominant, controlled by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Based on the notion that the more money you have, the greater your influence, the balance of power has changed. The compass deviated from the Arab League’s historical constants, so that, for example, the term “Zionist enemy” was erased from its lexicon to the extent that we now miss its statements condemning Israeli attacks even though we would mock them at the time for being relatively meaningless.
The Arab League started life as an expression of the Arab conscience. Palestine was the first pillar in its foundation, and the reason for it not closing down. Until, that is, the organisation was assassinated by the Arab Zionists who have seized control.
Before the Saudi-Emirati takeover, the Arab League reflected the issues for which there was a consensus: the rejection of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and a rejection of normalising relations with it; the established principle of boycotting Israel at every level; and taking strong positions against the Israeli occupation, which in itself is a reminder of Arab failure. Today, the Arab League has become synonymous with Arab prostitution; it would be more appropriate to call it the League of Hebraised States.
It was ironic that Algeria hosted the 31st summit under the slogan “Arab reunification”. It is hostile to its neighbour Morocco, with which it has a closed border, and it supports and arms the Polisario Front against Morocco’s control of the Western Sahara.
In reality, the summit was finished even before it began, with half of the Arab rulers absent. Sad to say that even if they had attended, they would only have added to the confusion. The rulers of all Arab states are tyrants who rule with an iron first, and they work against Arab interests to satisfy the enemies of the Arabs. They do not care about Palestine, but insist on rhetorical statements which do nothing but embellish their own tarnished reputations. They claim that Palestine is still the core issue — which it is, or should be — but the words only come from their throats, not their hearts. They are liars using the Palestine issue to keep themselves in power.
Consider this. Who is plotting against the Palestinians; working with the Israeli enemy to liquidate the Palestinian cause; besieging the Gaza Strip and starving almost two million Palestinians; describing Palestinian resistance fighters as “terrorists”; deporting Palestinians and cutting off their livelihood; imprisoning them; buying homes and land in Jerusalem to give to the Zionists; preventing their people from showing solidarity with the Palestinian people during the repeated Israeli military offensives; denying opportunities to demonstrate support for Jerusalem; and making charitable donations to Palestinians a criminal offence? Who is doing all of this? Arab regimes, of course.
It is also ironic that the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, calls for unity for the sake of the Palestinian cause. He was the person, remember, who said that the legs of those Palestinians who get anywhere near the border with Egypt should be broken. This was in 2009 when he was Egypt’s foreign minister and the Palestinians had torn down the barbed wire between the Palestinian and Egyptian sides of Rafah. They defied the Sykes-Picot agreement and entered Egypt in order to buy essential items in short supply in Gaza due to the Israeli-led siege. Ordinary Egyptians and Palestinians embraced each other in a beautiful scene that remains ingrained in our memories. Then the Palestinians re-crossed the border and went home.
The Arab League has not united the Arab people; it simply brings regimes together. That is why it has never been a thorn in the side of our enemies at any time in its 77-year history. It was established in March 1945 under the gaze of the British occupation of Palestine by Foreign Minister Anthony Eden. This was two years after he spoke in the House of Commons in Westminster, saying that the British government sympathises with Arab aims for economic, cultural and political unity.
Eden had wanted to bribe the Arab countries to stand by Britain and its allies during World War II, using and exploiting the cracks in the Muslim world to weaken it. He promised total independence and the right to self-determination; a promise that evaporated quickly as soon as the war ended.
Eden’s superficial empathy with the Arabs came from the same playbook as his predecessor Lord Balfour’s sympathy with the Zionists and their plot to colonise Palestine to establish a Jewish state. They served the same goal. Eden sought to play the Arab card to divide the Islamic Ummah and bury the Palestinian cause. He succeeded to a certain degree, but Palestine, and Al-Aqsa Mosque, remains an Islamic issue, not simply one for the Arabs.
British support for the “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine did not arise out of sympathy with Jews; it served an imperial purpose, so that the eventual state of Israel would serve British and European interests in the region. Planting the state in the middle of the Muslim world was intended to divide the Ummah, supported by Arab states sympathetic to Zionism. The Crusades have never really ended; just taken a different form.
Nevertheless, while the League of Shame is dead and buried, without regret, the shameful regimes will soon follow it when the Arab people regain the upper hand in their revolutions. They seek liberation on two fronts: from the regimes usurping the Arab governments; and from the Israeli regime usurping Arab land. The corrupt rulers think that this time will never come, but we believe that it will come sooner than they think, God-Willing.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.