The war between Israel and Hamas, which has escalated since it broke out on October 7, has raised the specter that the normalization of ties with Israel in the Arab world will not only come to a halt but even be reversed .
Historical wounds had been set aside and normalization had accelerated since the 2020 Abraham Accords, but one of the first diplomatic casualties of the war was Saudi Arabia suspending talks with the country.
The deadly attack on a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, which killed 500 people and whose origins are disputed, worsened the situation and Jordan announced the cancellation of a planned meeting between US President Joe Biden and Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Palestinian leaders. Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.
While the West stands firmly behind Israel and Mr Biden said the hospital attack appeared to have been carried out by the ‘other team’, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey have blamed Israel for the attack .
For Palestinians and Arabs, the war with Israel did not begin on the morning of October 7, when Hamas launched 5,000 rockets on land, coupled with a land and sea attack. For them, the war has been going on since 1948, when militias drove Palestinians from their homes and killed tens of thousands of people in what is called the Nakba, or catastrophe.
The 1948 Arab-Israeli War was the first conflict between the Arab world and the newly independent country. Israel declared its independence on May 14, 1948 – following the United Nations partition proposal for Palestine – and a civil war that had been raging in what had been called Mandatory Palestine escalated into a conflict between Israel and the Arab states.
A military coalition of five Arab countries – Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria – entered Palestine and the war ended with the permanent displacement of more than half the Palestinian population, while Israel withheld almost 60% of the UN’s proposed controlled the area. for the Palestinian state.
Relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors remained poor after an armistice was signed in 1949 and deteriorated after the Suez Crisis of 1956. In May 1967, Egypt announced that the Strait of Tiran would be closed to Israeli ships and this was one of the the catalysts for the Six-Day War a month later.
It was during the Six-Day War that the Israeli army launched a ground offensive on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip more than half a century later, which is the focus of the current war. The war involved Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
Egypt lost the Gaza Strip to Israel, Syria lost the Golan Heights and Jordan lost control of East Jerusalem and the West Bank
Another war took place in 1969 and was followed by the Yom Kippur or Ramadan War of 1973. This was fought between Israel, Egypt and Syria and also saw the US and the Soviet Union, locked in the Cold War, opposing parties helped.
The repeated wars with Israel and the loss of land to it – not only in Palestine but also from other countries – have been a festering pain to the Arab psyche. In the 1950s and 1960s, the heyday of Arab nationalism, Palestine was the central Arab cause that brought many Arab leaders to power
Popular and public support in many Arab countries is for an independent Palestinian state, and many leaders who have spoken for normalized ties with Israel have paid a price. On July 20, 1951, Jordan’s King Abdullah I was assassinated during Friday prayers on the steps of one of Islam’s holiest shrines, the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, by a Palestinian who opposed Jordanian tolerance for Israel.
Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated in 1981 by militants opposed to the peace deal with Israel.
Another important aspect is religion. The Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam, and the Israeli-occupied territories are home to several other Islamic holy sites.
The 2020 Abraham Accords between Israel, Bahrain and the UAE marked a turning point in ties between Israel and Arab countries. Saudi Arabia, which had developed extensive business and military relations with Israel, also held talks with the country.
Many citizens in these autocracies opposed the deals and these fault lines have emerged with protests across the Arab world.