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+972 and the Abraham Accords

As the Palestinian people are brutally slaughtered following Israel’s declaration of war, leaders of predominantly Muslim countries are striving to present themselves as indispensable supporters of the Palestinian national movement. Recent statements following an extraordinary meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which ended with a supposed strong condemnation of Israeli aggression, support my claim.

We have witnessed similar meetings and read statements on paper immediately after the war began, as we have in the past. We have seen protests with product lists posted on social media, AKP youth protesting at Starbucks with Palestinian flags around their necks and coffees in hand, and protests with Palestinian flags on luxury cars. Each political leader continued to make symbolic statements in front of cameras. However, these ‘leaders of the ummah’ were always scorned by their own people.

Look at the patrons of the Islamic world…

Saudi Arabia is the real patron of the Taliban. Although the era of the Crown Prince’s reign coincided with the establishment of the Saudi monarchy in a manner similar to Gulf kingdoms like the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, it has historically applied a totalitarian worldview in its own country.

Qatar at least introduced the Al Jazeera media network, which provides a breath of fresh air against the mainstream Western media’s almost limitless support for Israel. However, in general, Gulf monarchies, countries bordering historic Palestine, like Egypt and Jordan, and most other Muslim countries, clearly do not care about the democratic aspirations of their people, let alone the colonized Palestinians. There is no need to write about the exploitation role applied by the person at the head of the palace in Turkey, who boasts of being an exception, towards Syria, neighboring countries, and his own people.

So, are there no democratic countries in the region?

Only Western countries tout Israel as the sole flag-bearer of democracy. Unfortunately, this rhetoric is both ridiculous and nauseating. Western states always claim to be the paragons of freedom in such events. However, their stance in the face of the genocide against Palestinians has once again been exposed by recent developments.

From a Western perspective, China approaches the events in the region with relative stability. As the undisputed opportunist of the globalization era, China is the most prominent challenger to centuries-old Western hegemony. However, China itself is not democratic. Over the years, it has further exposed inequality.

There are other dark countries like Russia, and another country closer to Hamas; Iran. The support given by Western powers to Israel since October 7, coupled with the joint actions of Iran and Russia, will lead to a larger fire.

Latin America wants the fire in the Middle East extinguished. Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, and Cuba are at least against the ethnic cleansing in Gaza. Protests erupting around the world, Israel’s disproportionate response to the Hamas attack, and its indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Gaza, including children, seem to have shaken the world’s conscience, but this is not enough.

The open support Israel receives, the weeks-long siege of Gaza without food, water, fuel, or medicine, the killing of innocent civilians including children, bombing hospitals, and blocking humanitarian aid to Gazans under siege are tantamount to war crimes.

This war has already become perhaps the longest since the establishment of the state of Israel. Despite its massive military power, the fragility of the Zionist state has also been revealed. Even the complete destruction of the Gaza Strip will not secure this colonial power.

Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza has deepened the impasse of Arab countries. Initially, most of these countries’ reactions were ordinary and cautious, and they refrained from directly condemning Israeli aggression. Considering the normalization steps with Israel, this is not surprising.

The official ‘Abraham,’ or normalization, agreements between Israel and the UAE were made on August 13, 2020. The UAE became the third Arab country, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, to formally normalize relations with Israel. It was the first Gulf state to come to the table. On August 16, 2020, the UAE, like other Arab countries recognizing Israel, removed the ban on direct calls to the +972 country code, establishing a phone line for the first time and approving mutual commercial flights.

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Numerous Arab countries, including Bahrain, Morocco, and Sudan, recognized Israel under the US-backed 2020 Abraham Accords. The name ‘Abraham Accords’ reflects the common belief in the role of Abraham as the founder of Israel in Abrahamic faiths, including Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Hamas’s recent action on October 7 not only led to the death of Palestinians but also sabotaged the peace process. For 70 years, Israel has been using ruthless force to suppress the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, guaranteed by the 1947 UN Resolution that decided the division of Palestine into two states, one Arab and one Jewish.

In recent history, these lands have been under the dominion of the Ottomans, Arabs, Romans, and later the British. The Zionist movement, i.e., Jews fighting for an independent homeland, occupied Arab lands by bringing Jews from Europe. The establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, known as the ‘Nakba,’ resulted in the displacement of 700,000 native Palestinians.

There was the 1917 Balfour Declaration by the British government, which expressed the intention to establish a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine and stated that it “shall not prejudice the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish communities.” This commitment was never fulfilled.

These lands are of religious significance to Jews, Christians, and Muslims. While Muslims respect the Al-Aqsa Mosque, these lands have hosted the Hebrew ancestors for Jews.

Palestinians have been fighting for their right to live on their own lands for years. Similar dark interim periods have always occurred throughout modern world history. Palestine represents the longing for freedom.

Now, those leading the longing are not the leaders who approved access to +972 and govern the world, but the ordinary people of the globe.

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YÜKSEL DURGUT is a journalist with a primary focus on global politics and foreign affairs. He serves as the Foreign Relations Director of the International Journalists Association e.V. and holds the position of Editor-in-Chief at Journalist Post.

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