THE slow but steady wave of normalisation between Arab states and Israel rolls on, with Morocco being the fourth nation in recent months to establish ties with the Jewish state. The development was announced on Thursday via Twitter by outgoing US President Donald Trump, who has made cobbling together a ‘coalition of the willing’ of Arabs and Israel a central plank of his foreign policy.

Mr Trump has labelled it a “massive breakthrough”, while Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel chimed in by terming the scheme “another great light for peace”. In return for establishing ties with Tel Aviv, Rabat has won American recognition for Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.

Where Arab politics is concerned, Morocco is an outlier, so it is difficult to be convinced by the American and Israeli exuberance over the latest deal. However, Arab regimes know well that the road to Washington goes through Tel Aviv, which explains their eagerness to ditch their Palestinian ‘brothers’ and Arab consensus over the Palestine question, and embrace Israel. Moreover, the UAE and then Bahrain — which were the first Arab states in decades to recognise Israel — have found a kindred spirit in Tel Aviv that also seeks to ‘contain’ Iran.

More Arab and Muslim states will expectedly follow, paying lip service to the just cause of Palestine while booking the next flight to Tel Aviv. Yet the elephant in the room is Saudi Arabia. There has been fervent media speculation over covert Saudi-Israeli meetings; one report even said Mr Netanyahu flew to northern Saudi Arabia for clandestine parleys with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The Saudis have officially denied this as it is a sensitive matter, with the kingdom hosting Islam’s holiest cities. In fact, senior Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal was highly critical of Israel at a recent summit in Bahrain, with the Israeli foreign minister attending remotely. This shows that even within Saudi Arabia there is resistance to embracing Israel fully, without an equitable solution to the Palestine question.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2020

Opinion

Missing I.A. Rehman’s wisdom
18 Apr 2021

Missing I.A. Rehman’s wisdom

Does the state of Pakistan, all institutions included, have the political will to address the runaway intolerance in society and
Ostrich approach
18 Apr 2021

Ostrich approach

The logic of blocking social media to contain protests is flawed.
Wings of mediation
18 Apr 2021

Wings of mediation

ADR benefits could ensure the expeditious settlement of tax disputes.
Banning Mr Rizvi
17 Apr 2021

Banning Mr Rizvi

Sooner than later, fanatics start to pull their own strings.

Editorial

18 Apr 2021

More cabinet changes

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan has reshuffled his cabinet yet again in what is obviously another attempt to shore up his...
18 Apr 2021

Blocking social media

FOR four hours this week, all social media platforms in the country were shut down, a measure the government said ...
18 Apr 2021

Peasant rights in Sindh

IN a seminar held in Nawabshah recently, the Sindh Human Rights Commission and Hari Welfare Association reiterated a...
17 Apr 2021

Pak-India mediation

QUESTIONS had been swirling about what and who has prompted the latest detente between Pakistan and India. Now, it...
17 Apr 2021

Energy exploration

SOME exploration and production companies want the government to prioritise offshore exploration — a high-risk...
17 Apr 2021

Professor’s removal

IN a step that will go far in sending a message of reassurance to female students and academic staff in ...