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

Poisoning minds
23 Jan 2021

Poisoning minds

ICS cadets were raised on James Mill’s notorious work.
The fog of Broadsheet
23 Jan 2021

The fog of Broadsheet

How can the government pump credibility into an official probe when it has already declared its own political verdict?
Cheating on online exams
23 Jan 2021

Cheating on online exams

The difficulty of preventing online cheating and low ethical standards means that these days most students cheat.
Language mess
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Language mess

Our policy confuses the medium-of-instruction debate with the language-acquisition debate.

Editorial

23 Jan 2021

Power price hike

ALREADY struggling to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and rising food prices, consumers received yet...
Updated 23 Jan 2021

Israeli land grab

WITH the chapter now closed on the Trump presidency, the eyes of many in the international community — ...
23 Jan 2021

New PhD policy

EARLIER in the week, the HEC chairman announced several changes for undergraduate and PhD degrees in the country....
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Time to heal

A multitude of foreign issues will test Biden’s mettle and require progressive thinking.
22 Jan 2021

Foreign funding

AS the pressure builds on his party in the foreign funding case, Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for an ...
22 Jan 2021

Decaying PTV

THE Cabinet Committee on State-Owned Enterprises has decided to remove Pakistan Television from the list of...