Over 23,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been murdered by Israel over the past three months with the aid of US arms and ammunition, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is putting pressure on Arab leaders to halt the violence. Arab leaders should have never abandoned Palestine, and the Abraham Accords have now created a different level of complicity. Even for countries that are not yet signatories to the normalisation of relations with Israel, diplomacy is different. The intent to create allegiances with Israel in the Middle East has gained more traction than the Palestinian anti-colonial struggle ever did, in terms of political support. The Israeli genocide in Gaza has well and truly demonstrated the hypocrisy of Arab leaders and the political isolation of the Palestinians.
However, Blinken’s way of evading culpability for the US has been to pressure countries in the region to exert influence after Washington has unleashed its weapons on Gaza through Israel. “We want to make sure that countries… are using their relationships with some of the actors that might be involved to keep a lid on things, to make sure that we’re not seeing the spread of the conflict,” Blinken stated after meeting Turkish and Greek leaders on Saturday.
The US official omitted two main points. First, Israel considers itself above any law and has done so ever since its 1948 creation on the back of a Zionist terror campaign in Palestine. Moreover, the US has consistently supported this narrative, not only rhetorically but also through military aid. As Israel faces the International Court of Justice this week on genocide charges, Israeli President Isaac Herzog declared that there is “nothing more atrocious and preposterous” than the lawsuit filed by South Africa. Meanwhile, the US has upheld all of Israel’s actions, including encouraging targeted assassinations of Hamas leaders abroad, increasing the risk of escalating Israeli aggression in the region, as is the case with Lebanon after an Israeli missile attack killed senior Hamas official Saleh Al-Arouri in Beirut.
What are the political leaders in the region expected to do, exactly? Tell Palestinians to accept their forced displacement? To accept the genocide inflicted on them?
The endless cycle of violence which Blinken spoke of cannot be stopped by Arab diplomacy; the Arab abandonment of Palestine is testimony to that. Arab leaders who acquiesced to the Abraham Accords either by becoming signatories or by failing to speak out against normalisation have all exposed their dependency on Israel and the US. If Israel is overriding the US calls for restraint, which are not even a call to end the genocide, but to tone down the scale of killing to reduce the level of scrutiny, how much will Israel listen to governments that have never, at any given moment, gone further than what the US articulates merely as a facade?
Blinken is merely asking the region to cooperate with Israel. If the US really wanted a drop in civilian casualties in Gaza, it wouldn’t have sent weapons to Israel. Only now, after thousands of Palestinians have been massacred, is the US pretending to involve the Middle East in diplomacy. And hypocritically so, as Blinken told Israeli leaders to keep the two-state paradigm viable in order to win acceptance. However, the Middle East has already made its peace with Israel in varying degrees. How about the narrative turning towards Palestine and what the Palestinians demand and definitely have the legitimate right to have?
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.