The Absence of ’Political Unity’ Among Arabs & Islamic Holy Sites in Al-Quds

In June 1967, the one-eyed Moshe Dayan staged his entrance into occupied east Al Quds to mirror that of British General Edmund Allenby, who walked through the same gate after defeating the Ottomans fifty years earlier.

The Absence of

The theatrics guaranteed that Dayan’s instrumental role in bringing some of the holiest sites in Islam, Christianity and Judaism under ‘Israeli’ occupation, would not be forgotten by the history books.

In fact, the ‘Israeli’ minister’s considerable contribution also encompassed a role in coining the now-universally accepted name of that conflict – The Six Day War – which is a biblical reference to God’s creation of the world in six days.

Later that summer, the Soviet leader at the time, Leonid Brezhnev, said that, “not every one of our workers understands why two million ‘Israelis’ defeated so many Arabs equipped with our weapons.”

During a meeting in Budapest on July 11 that same year, Brezhnev and his colleagues outlined an array of “weak points”, starting with the absence of “political unity” among the Arabs.

Fast-forward to the modern-day Middle East, and those weaknesses are more apparent than ever; morphing into unholy alliances, espousing religious persecution and legitimizing the ‘Israeli’ occupation of Arab lands.

The Tel Aviv-Manama Connection

The current inferno engulfing Al Quds is little more than a natural progression of the path chartered by Moshe Dayan five decades ago; the collective punishment of the Palestinians and burgeoning ‘Israeli’ control over the city’s al-Aqsa Mosque – Islam’s third holiest site.

The most recent discriminatory restrictions by the ‘Israelis’, which included barring men under 50 years of age from taking part in Friday prayers, left five Palestinians dead and hundreds injured.

But despite the carnage, most Arab regimes remained conspicuously silent, failing to produce public displays of solidarity with the Palestinian cause, or translate Arab and Muslim anger into mass demonstrations – or even harshly critical articles.

Arab monarchies in the Persian Gulf refrained from making any concrete public statements on the matter. The silence extended to news reports, where one would have been hard pressed to find much in the way of details concerning events at the al-Aqsa compound.

During a televised interview, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister, Khalid bin Ahmad Al Khalifa, broached the subject in a noticeably dismissive manner, stating that ‘Israelis’ and Palestinians dying is something “happening every day”.

Such sentiment can hardly be described as surprising, at a time when Arab monarchies are proposing concrete steps toward establishing better relations with Tel Aviv.

Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifa clan has also made significant overtures in recent months, aimed at normalizing ties with the ‘Israelis.’

And as the standoff in Al Quds stretched into its second week, a similar ban, nearly 2,000 kilometers away in Bahrain’s northwestern village of Diraz, hit the 54-week mark.

Diraz, which has been besieged by Bahrain’s security forces since last summer, houses the Imam Al-Sadiq Mosque, where Shiite worshipers have been barred from congregating for Friday prayers since last summer.

The restrictions – part of the regime’s clampdown on the kingdom’s Shiite majority and political opposition – are increasingly mirroring tactics employed by the ‘Israeli’ occupation, including widespread arbitrary arrests and forced demographic changes.

However, Manama and Tel Aviv appear to have a lot more in common than a shared interest in persecuting religious majorities.

In May, Manama provided a forum for a verbal clash between the ‘Israeli’ and Palestinian soccer leaders, when it played host to an ‘Israeli’ delegation at the annual FIFA congress.

The end result was touted as a “victory” by Tel Aviv.

In January, an official in Tel Aviv told The Times of ‘Israel’ that his government enjoys “good relations” with the Bahraini monarchy, and in 2016 Manama’s top diplomat paid tribute to the late ‘Israeli’ President Shimon Peres, whose lengthy political career was marred by allegations of war crimes against the Arab people.

The regime also came under a wave of criticism after hosting a Zionist delegation for a candle-lighting ceremony marking the first night of Hanukkah.

It goes without saying that these relations are not based on shared values or deep intimacy but rather a common goal of undermining Iranian regional interests.

In this respect, Bahrain is only a small extension of Saudi foreign policy, which now openly recognizes the need to sidestep the more intractable issue of Palestinian statehood for the sake of better ties with Tel Aviv.

Is Riyadh betting on history repeating itself?

فيصل طالب جونسون بشنّ حرب 1967 لإضعاف مصر وسورية والفلسطينيّين

In the lead-up to the 1967 war, the title of ‘the greatest threat to the survival of the Saudi kingdom’ – currently reserved for the Islamic Revolution and Shiite Iran – was held by secular revolutionary Arab nationalism led by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser.

At the time, the kingdom and Egypt were fighting a proxy war in Yemen with 50,000 Egyptian troops backing the Republican government in Sana’a.

The kingdom was on the defensive and under severe strain. At home, the Royal Saudi Air Force was repeatedly grounded in the 1960s because its pilots kept defecting with their jets to Egypt. Rumors of coup plots were widespread.

And then, miraculously, the ‘Israelis’ devastated the Egyptian army. The ’67 war also dealt a mortal blow to Nasser’s Arab nationalism, which would eventually be eclipsed by the rise of political Islam.

Saudi Arabia’s King Faysal quickly sprung into action, cutting oil exports to the U.K. and the U.S. in what would turn out to be more of a symbolic PR stunt than an effective measure against the ‘Israeli’ allies.

Nevertheless it was more than enough to transform Riyadh into the new champion of the Palestinian cause, especially when it came to Al Quds and its Islamic Holy sites.

Surely the Saudis are not hoping for an identical outcome in their dispute with the Iranians. After all, the notion of ‘Israeli’ invincibility, established after the ’67 war, has long been shattered, and even the ‘Israeli’ identity conceived by Dayan-era officials is facing an existential crisis.

But perhaps the thinking in Riyadh is: ‘the ‘Israelis’ saved us once, maybe they can do it again’. 

Al-Ahed News

29-07-2017 | 08:50

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