Why Palestine doesn’t matter enough to Arab leaders

Ashish Shukla
5 min readNov 1, 2023

(This is a reprint from NewsBred)

History is a mess created by a few…repaid by generations.

This is not the routine usury of principal and interest, debt or credit.

It’s millions of lives, young and old, children and sick, butchered or slaughtered.

Generation after generation.

It was the British who had promised Arabs the land if they helped bring down the Ottoman Empire during the first World War (1914–1918).

But Britain, typical of them, went back on its promise and along with France, took over the Arab lands between themselves.

Britain now established Mandatory Palestine (1920–1948), a geopolitical entity for the administration of enemy territory. The deceitful Britain, in between, had made the Balfour Declaration of 1917 which promised Jews a home in Palestine.

Now Jews from around the world began pouring in, still though outnumbered by the local Arabs. Both claimed the land as their own before the United Nations passed a partition plan between the Jews and Arabs in 1947.

This UN plan gave 56% of the land to the Jewish state despite an overwhelming number of Arab population. Now the Jews and Arabs were at each other’s throats (1948 war).

Britain terminated the mandate during the war and the very same day State of Israel was declared.

After the war, 78% of the territory was captured by Israel, West Bank was annexed by Jordan, and Egypt took over the Gaza Strip.

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Nearly two decades later, Israel waged a six-day war against a coalition of Arab States (primarily Egypt, Syria, Jordan) in 1967.

It gave Israel the Sinai peninsula and Gaza Strip from Egypt; and West Bank from Jordan. Like the Nabka of 1948 which displaced 700,000 Palestinians, this war added another 300,000 displaced to the list.

It’s a misconception that Arabs like Egypt and Jordan were looking to secure a Palestinian home. They were looking for their own interest: Egypt exchanged Sinai Peninsula for Gaza as geographically it was impossible for them to defend it behind the Sinai desert. Jordan, likewise, settled for Jordan River as border which was a recognized marker within the Ottoman Empire.

If you don’t see the Arab leaders standing by Palestine but for rhetorics, it’s because a few of them consider this land to be their own!

Who Palestinians? Which land? It doesn’t quite register with them.

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It’s not just Israel: Egypt today maintains a total blockade of some 2 million Palestinians in southern Gaza.

Jordan hasn’t been giving any financial assistance to the West Bank since 1988.

It doesn’t grant citizenship to Palestinians.

It stops 700,000 Palestinian refugees from crossing the Syrian border.

It was no other the Jordanian army which crushed the PLO in “Black September” in 1970.

It was Kuwait which expelled nearly 400,000 Palestinians after the Gulf War.

Lebanon still can’t forget that it was the mass of Palestinian refugees who inflamed the Civil War.

Those refugee camps are virtually the recruitment grounds for Hamas or Fatah.

And then you have Syria which has always considered Palestine and Lebanon its own territory.

Today the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are two separate territories ruled by rival factions: Hamas and Fatah.

Neither Egypt nor Jordan likes them: Egypt sees Hamas an offshoot of its enemy Muslim Brotherhood. Jordan views Fatah, the child of PLO, as a danger to its very being.

And Hamas? Well, more than the Palestinian state, it’s the erasure of Israel from the world map which is on their mind.

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This would give readers some idea why Israel behaves with the impunity it does with millions of Palestinians.

For it doesn’t suspect a blowback by the Arabs.

It’s only stupidity is it thinks it could do the genocide of Palestinians without anyone noticing it.

Some two and a half million people don’t disappear if nobody takes them in.

Unless you could drown them in the Mediterranean.

Let’s say Israel is able to eliminate Hamas. What options do you think it has:

  • It can’t do a military reoccupation of Gaza like it did between 1967–2005: It would financially bleed them dry.
  • It can’t call upon Fatah from West Bank to govern Gaza — one, Palestinians won’t accept them; two, Fatah is losing legitimacy even in the West Bank.
  • It can’t call upon Egypt, Jordan or Saudi Arabia to govern Gaza on their behalf: I mean imagine Arabs patrolling Palestinians on behalf of Israel!
  • Eliminate Hamas and just leave: But then another Hamas would be born. Yasser Arafat once said: Palestinians would win because their most effective weapon is the womb of the Palestinian woman.

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We now hear a pompous Joe Biden advising for a two-state solution.

Israelis think it’s a romantic notion.

For how do you convince your domestic audience? How to trust Palestinians whom you’ve dealt with such satanic inhumanity?

Neither one-state or two-state solution is feasible; nor is confederation approach or Israel’s annexation of West Bank in a quid pro quo with Gaza.

It’s only the status quo which remains an option for cowardly leadership of Israel and Arabs; or a regional war which surely would be a World War unlike the two in the pre-Nuclear era.

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As I said, the impunity of Israel is borne out of Arabs impotence.

The US knows it too; it couldn’t care about the anarchy or fleeing refugees to Europe.

When has Europe or its problems, be it refugees or gas, mattered to Washington?

For all it cares, tens of thousands more could hit the streets of London, Paris and Berlin: It gives a hoot.

As long as it could sell the fear of Russia to European masses through their pliant leaders, life is cool.

Besides a Middle East in flames could sink the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative) or coming together of Eurasia landmass which is a nightmare for powers which control the seas of the world.

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The one factor left unaccounted in this all is Iran and Hamas-Hezbollah.

Or if Saudi Arabia breaks off with the United States and join hands with Iran: Not just for pan-Arab unity but also the weapon they have in oil.

You think it’s a long shot? Well, history is messy but also it sometimes defies what we take for granted.

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Ashish Shukla

Author, International journalist, Publishes NewsBred.com as antidote to media lies