Israeli-Palestinian peace-making: the role of the Arab states

Summary: Arab states have supported the Palestinians in various ways over the last 70 years, while giving their own interests priority. Some Arab regimes now seem to attach greater importance to their relations with Israel and the US than to the Palestinian cause.

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2 thoughts on “Israeli-Palestinian peace-making: the role of the Arab states”

  1. I think Greg Shapland exaggerates the extent to which the 1973 war was purely about national Egyptian and Syrian territorial claims; it was also an attempt to rebalance the military disaster of 1967 and thereby make possible a more equitable negotiation on the overall Arab-Israel conflict and especially Palestine. Syria could have secured a bilateral settlement at many stages over the ensuing decades if they had been prepared to abandon their declared position on Palestine. Egypt is a different case, though my personal conviction is that Sadat genuinely believed that by going to Jerusalem and showing Israel that peace was attainable he would convince Begin to reciprocate and negotiate seriously also over Palestine. If I am right, he sadly misjudged Begin.
    That said, no doubt the Arab States, particularly the regimes but increasingly the populations, must wish they could walk away from the whole mess.

  2. Greg Shapland has provided an excellent summary of the history. I am struck by MBS’s ‘lack of interest in talking about Jerusalem’. King Salman’s predecessors maintained a locus on the Arab/Israel dispute through their role as Custodian of the Holy Places and their inclusion of Jerusalem in the latter. As theoretical as that may have been, it will be interesting to see if abandoning it has an impact on the King’s (or by extension, but more importantly, MBS’s) legitimacy. If not, that will underline how secondary the Palestine cause has seemed in the Gulf, at least since Palestinians were expelled from Kuwait after its liberation from the Iraqi occupation in 1991 (which the Kuwaitis accused them of supporting).

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