Opinion |

An Alliance That Will Breed Disasters

Saudi Arabia is the source of religious extremism in the Arab world and the main financier of fanatic terrorism

Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat
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A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on May 20, 2017, shows US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud shaking hands during a signing ceremony at the Saudi Royal Court in Riyadh.
A handout picture provided by the Saudi Royal Palace on May 20, 2017, shows US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud shaking hands during a signing ceremony at thCredit: Bandar Al-Jaloud /AFP
Odeh Bisharat
Odeh Bisharat

It was an end-of-days vision. On the royal divan at the palace in Riyadh, everything was ready for the historic moment. U.S. President Donald Trump had just signed the huge arms deal — $110 billion dollars that is expected to reach $300 billion.

The documents, placed inside a luxurious leather binding with the symbols of the two countries engraved in gold, were placed on the desk of King Salman bin Abdulaziz. For a moment it looked as though the king was perplexed. He hesitated slightly, and then turned to arrange the magnificent keffiyeh on his head.

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After a moment he recovered. He held his gilded pen, lifted it slowly and began to lower it. But then, when only 10 centimeters separated $110 billion from nothing at all, the royal hand suddenly moved back and rested next to the bound documents. A heavy silence fell. All those present turned pale.

And then the king said in his weak voice: “In less than a week we will celebrate Ramadan al-Kareem, and we have children in the prisons in Israel who are on a hunger strike. I don’t want this blessed month to begin while they’re still on strike.”

The shock that seized those sitting in the hall was indescribable. It’s true, they thought, sometimes reality exceeds even the wildest imagination.

In the future, historians will assert that from that moment the map of the Middle East changed. Not only did Israel agree to the strikers’ demands, but a few days later all the Palestinian prisoners were released, and by the end of the year a Palestinian state was established alongside Israel, within the 1967 borders. For the generation that was born afterwards “occupation” was an unfamiliar word, more the nickname of an alien than a description of reality.

In real life the deal was signed, of course, and anyone who thought that Arab pressure would change American policy was in for another disappointment. During Operation Litani, in 1978, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat asked — in the midst of the negotiations between Egypt and Israel — whether Israel has already “educated” the Palestinians. Yes, the truth is that the leaders of Arab countries, for the most part, are against the Palestinian people. That was the case during the Palestinian revolt in 1936, that was the case in 1948, and that’s how things are today too.

Therefore, every man of peace must sober up from the illusion that Israel’s connection with the so-called “moderate Sunni axis” will promote peace. After all, the only purpose of this axis, in its previous incarnations as well, is to preserve American interests, which match the interests of the region’s royal families.

Here’s a paradox: The leaders of Arab countries are pressuring Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to first agree to Arab-Israeli normalization, and only afterwards to ask Israel to freeze construction in the settlements.

They expect the Palestinians to accept the situation of occupation with love. The Arabs have long understood that the legendary wealth of the oil-rich countries has not constituted leverage for advancing their interests, but has instead become, in the hands of the Saudi regime with American support, the curse of the Saudi people and the Arabs in general.

The alliance with the “moderate Sunni countries” is a racist alliance, with its central motif being ethnic affiliation, and not a political-ideological stance.

In addition, this alliance is headed by Saudi Arabia, which is the source of religious extremism in the Arab world and the main financier of fanatic terrorism.

This alliance is contrary to the wishes of the Saudi people themselves, who are fighting for a society based on humane values and a just distribution of the country’s huge resources.

To people of peace, both Arab and Jewish, we say: Don’t rely on the new alliance. After all, an alliance between Israeli extremists and Arab reactionaries on the one hand, and a representative of the American arms industries on the other, will only give rise to disaster.

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