- Since 1948, the Arab countries and government have been paying mostly lip service to the Palestinians.
- “They have money and oil, but don’t care about the Palestinians, even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris or Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians.” — Palestinian human rights activist.
- “Some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas.” — Ashraf Salameh, Gaza City.
- “Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes.” — Mustafa al-Sawwaf, Palestinian political analyst.
- “Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority.” — Mohammed al-Musafer, columnist.
- “The Arab leaders don’t know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don’t even know what they want from Israel.” — Yusef Rizka, Hamas official.
Every now and then, the Palestinians are reminded of the fact that most Arabs don’t care about them and their problems.
Arab “indifference” and “silence” toward the current war between Israel and Hamas has once again reminded Palestinians of the “betrayal” by their Arab brethren.
It is not that Palestinians were expecting the Arab countries to send their armies to fight Israel and prevent an IDF ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Moreover, Palestinians say they were not even expecting the Arab governments to send money and medicine to thousands of families inside the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinians in general and Hamas in particular feel that the Arab world simply does not care about them and does not even want to hear from them.
Some Palestinians argue that the Arab world was perhaps too busy with the 2014 Mondial [Soccer World Cup] or Ramadan feasts to pay enough attention to the war in the Gaza Strip. But the Mondial has ended and most Arabs still don’t seem to be interested in what is going on between Palestinians and Israel.
True, there have been some marches in a number of Arab countries in solidarity with the Palestinians and in protest against the war in the Gaza Strip. Still, Palestinians say they are still disappointed at the small number of participants. They are also disappointed that the Arab governments had moved quickly to suppress any show of support for Palestinians.
“The Arab regimes hate us and this is not new,” said Palestinian political analyst Ali Hableh. “It took Saudi Arabia seven days to issue a statement condemning the current Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip. Palestinians have always known that they could never rely on their Arab brothers who have turned their backs on us.”
For Hableh and many Palestinians, the Arab “betrayal” dates back to 1948, when the state of Israel was created. They are convinced that Arab “collusion” and “treason” contributed to the defeat of the Arab armies and the subsequent creation of Israel.
Since then, the Arab countries and governments have been mostly paying lip service to the Palestinians.
And this is what is exactly happening these days, Palestinians point out.
Almost every Palestinian is today talking about the sense of betrayal by the Arab world. It is a feeling that has increased Palestinians’ hostility and mistrust toward their Arab brethren.
Palestinian cartoonist Umaya Juha expressed Palestinian feelings toward the Arab “betrayal” in a drawing that shows an Arab and Islamic arm stabbing a Palestinian woman from the back – while she had also been stabbed in the chest by Israel.
Prominent Palestinian editor Abdel Bari Atwan said it was “shameful” for the Arabs that the UN Security Council convened to discuss the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip before Arab foreign ministers gathered in Cairo.
The Palestinians, he said, have given up on the Arab leaders and governments a long time ago. He also accused the Arab governments of starving the Palestinians and participating in the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
“The Palestinian people’s problem with their Arab brothers is much bigger than their problem with the Israelis,” Atwan explained. “The Palestinians can resist Israel and fire rockets at it, but they don’t want to do the same against their Arab executioners because they continue to regard them as brothers.”
A Palestinian human rights activist in the West Bank also talked about the “historic” betrayal of the Arabs.
“We never expected anything good from the Arabs,” he said. “They have money and oil, but don’t care about the Palestinians even though we are Arabs and Muslims like them. What a Saudi or Qatari sheikh spends in one night in London, Paris and Las Vegas could solve the problem of tens of thousands of Palestinians. Only an idiot would have expected the Arab world to rise against Israel for attacking the Gaza Strip. We saw more protests in Europe against the war than in the Arab countries.”
The sense of being betrayed has driven some Palestinians to openly accuse Arab governments of being part of the “Zionist aggression” on the Gaza Strip.
Sheikh Ekremah Sabri, the former mufti of Jerusalem who currently serves as a leading preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque, claimed that the three wars waged by Israel against Hamas have been “coordinated” with the Arab countries.
Sheikh Sabri went on to claim that some Arabs have even covered the expenses of the Israeli military operations.
Voicing widespread resentment and disappointment among Palestinians over Arab “silence,” the top Islamic official stated: “The Arabs work for Israel.”
It now remains to be seen whether Sheikh Sabri will be permitted to set foot in any Arab country that feels itself targeted by his fiery rhetoric.
|Sheikh Ekremah Sabri, the former mufti of Jerusalem and a leading preacher of Al-Aqsa Mosque, claims that the three wars waged by Israel against Hamas have been “coordinated” with the Arab countries.|
As he was speaking abut Arab “betrayal,” the Palestine Scholar’s Council issued a strongly-worded statement in which it lashed out at the Arab world for failing to take action to save the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
“When will the Arabs wake up? Why aren’t the Arabs providing the Gaza Strip with any assistance?” the statement wondered.
“The absence of an Arab response to the aggression is frustrating,” Ashraf Salameh, of Gaza City, said. “The aggression has shown that some Arabs were hoping that Israel would rid them of Hamas.”
Another Gaza Strip resident, Mohammed Aref, was quoted as saying that Palestinians are very disappointed with the stance of the Arabs and Muslims toward the war in the Gaza Strip. “We didn’t expect this silence,” he said.
Hamas official Yusef Rizka also denounced the Arab world for failing to help the Palestinians. “Gaza is facing the aggression alone,” he complained. “This is the bitter truth. The Arab leaders don’t know what they want from the Gaza Strip. They don’t even know what they want from Israel.”
Jordanian columnist Tamara al-Darawsheh said that the war in the Gaza Strip has seriously embarrassed the Arabs. “As the war continues, we see some marches here and there (in the Arab countries),” she wrote.
“As usual, these marches were suppressed. We didn’t hear anything new from the Arabs other than sheepish condemnations. Gaza has embarrassed us, because we have been busy with the Mondial and Ramadan feasts and TV dramas.”
Another columnist, Mohammed al-Musafer said that Israel has nothing to worry about as it attacks the Gaza Strip.
“Israel knows that (President Abdel Fattah) Sisi’s Egypt is not opposed to the destruction of the spirit of resistance in the Gaza Strip and silencing it for ever,” he remarked. “Most Arabs are busy these days with bloody battles waged by their leaders, who are struggling to survive. These battles are raging in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and the Palestinian Authority.”
Hamas and many Palestinians are now convinced more than ever that they could never rely on their Arab brothers for any kind of assistance. In fact, a growing number of Palestinians are beginning to place some Arab regimes on the side of Israel.
According to noted Palestinian political analyst Mustafa al-Sawwaf: “Some of the Arab regimes are interested in getting rid of the resistance in order to remove the burden of the Palestinian cause, which threatens the stability of their regimes.”
Another analyst, Adnan Abu Amer, expressed fear that the Arab “silence” has already reached the level of “collusion” with Israel.
He pointed out the failure of the Arab heads of state to hold a summit to discuss the war in the Gaza Strip while many international organizations have been holding meetings to voice solidarity with the Palestinians.
“Some Arab countries don’t want to exert pressure on Israel because they want to give it time to achieve its mission and destroy the Gaza Strip,” Abu Amer said. “The Arab people are too busy with their own problems and don’t have time to put pressure on their regimes. This encourages the Arab governments to remain silent.”
- Follow Khaled Abu Toameh on Twitter