Arabs Abandon the Mythology of Palestinian Victimhood

Mike Tyson once remarked that “everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”  Obama’s naiveté ushered in a deadly realism whose impact is the abandonment of the Palestinians.

The demise of Arab nationalism ushered in militancy in the name of Arafat, Erdogan, the Muslim Brotherhood and legions called Osama.  Most hard working honest Muslims know a thing or two about failed utopian regimes.  The move to consolidate as always been an Arab forte, even a failed one.  Politically, as monarchies throughout the land of Ishmael assess the wreckage of a failed Arab Spring, demoralized Sunni’s throughout North Africa and the levant are witnessing a Shia crescent arriving east from Tehran.  Having vanquished Sunni Arabs throughout Syria, Sunni regimes have panicked and in so doing abandoned Abbas.

After the defeat of pan-Arabism masquerading as nationalism, Sunni autocracies moved further left embracing militancy under the tutelage of resistance.  When that failed under the Oslo Accords, Sunni Islamists movements spring up only to witness profound role reversals after 9-11.  Abandoned by Riyadh and others, defeated by US coalition forces throughout the eastern Euphrates, Arab states like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and others are making peace with Israel.  The Arab states are seeking protection.  The real question is will Jerusalem acquiesce.

An ascendant, restless neo-Ottoman empire is saddling under Erdogan.  We have yet to see its Sunni impact.  Here’s what the Arab regimes throughout the region calculate:  they believe that only they can hold the US engaged in the region.

Abbas and Palestinian victimhood get in the way of tacit tactical alliances with Israel. Major Gulf States and Egypt have largely strangled Hamas in Gaza.  Now they seek to do the unthinkable.  Make Abbas take what Arafat rejected, a workable peace.  For that to happen, regional Arab players must rebuild the domestic authority of Fatah.

What is Abbas doing.  He’s playing for time in a land that has none. Abbas believes he can wrestle better terms from Israel.  But the coin of resistance has lost its luster.  If the Palestinians don’t function politically, why should Jerusalem expect them to honor anything in the breach.

Here’s breaking news:  regional Arab Sunni states will do nothing against Israel for moving against Hamas in Gaza.  Wait. . . it gets worse. . .

Hamas’ audience isn’t the Arab world any longer.  Its Turkey and Iran.  Those are the locations that Hamas’ leadership will long for, like Arafat did for Tunisia after expulsion from Jordan.

Here’s where we stand:  broken, exhausted and moribund revolutionary movements in the guise of either Arafat, Saudi financed Sunni fundamentalism or pan-Arabism of Nasser will not save the Sunni’s any longer.

Arnold Toynbee had it right when he admonished that self determination is the sine-qua-non of growth.  The challenge thrown down by Obama has yet to be accepted by Sunni Arabs; waiting for the Israeli’s or the American’s won’t do.

Will the Sunni Arabs save themselves?


About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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