As they step ever closer to the abyss, the Palestinians are trying to drag the entire Arab world down with them. They are essentially demanding that the Arab states turn their backs on their ally, the United States, and join the Palestinian Authority in its quarrel with Washington, sever all contact with the Trump administration and help the Palestinians torpedo efforts to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace.
In the past, the Palestinians simply had to nod for the Arab world to heed their whims and dutifully follow the dictates of the PLO and its leaders. The glory days of Palestinian nationalism, however, are gone. Arab countries no longer fear saying no to the Palestinians. They also don’t want to abandon their own interests anymore on the Palestinians’ behalf, or more to the point on behalf of their contrariness, caprice and inability to make the often painful but necessary compromises for the sake of their own future.
The Arab world for the most part no longer views Israel as the enemy, but rather as a strategic ally in the fight against the extremism and terror espoused by Iran and its proxies. For many Arab countries, which can no longer neglect or jeopardize their futures in service of the Palestinian cause, this fight is imperative.
The decision by Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and the Gulf states to attend the U.S.-led economic summit in Bahrain at the end of June, therefore, is a resounding slap in the face of the P.A., an expression of utter lack of faith in its path and leadership. Consequently, P.A. leaders now find themselves without troops and without support. The Palestinian public is fed up with the P.A. and doesn’t trust it anymore. Arab countries are following suit.
The Palestinians, true to their tradition, are choosing the path of rejection while dodging the tough decisions, but this time they are alone and lagging behind the pack. If they aren’t careful they could lose more than their power to veto normalization of Israeli-Arab ties, which they essentially squandered a long time ago. What’s really at stake now is their ability to decide their own fate.
The United States and Israel have already made it clear they will not wait for the Palestinians, and Arab states are now signaling they won’t let the Palestinians obstruct the Americans’ effort to introduce a regional, and even an Israeli-Palestinian accord.
This column first appeared in Israel Hayom.
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