As the war between Israel and Hamas enters its third week, with no sign of a ceasefire or a diplomatic breakthrough, some observers are accusing the Arab world of being indifferent or even complicit in the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza.
While some Arab countries have condemned the Israeli aggression and expressed solidarity with the Palestinians, others have been silent or even supportive of Israel’s actions. Egypt, which shares a border with Gaza and has a peace treaty with Israel, has been accused of collaborating with Israel to impose a blockade on the enclave and prevent the delivery of humanitarian aid. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco, which normalized relations with Israel last year, have also been criticized for their muted response and lack of pressure on Israel to stop the violence.
Some analysts say that the Arab world is divided and distracted by its own internal problems, such as the economic crisis, the coronavirus pandemic, the civil wars in Syria, Yemen, and Libya, and the political instability in Lebanon and Iraq. Others argue that the Arab world is losing interest and influence in the Palestinian cause, as it faces new challenges and opportunities in the region, such as the Iranian nuclear deal, the rise of Turkey and Qatar, and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan.
However, some voices in the Arab world are calling for more action and solidarity with the Palestinians. Jordan, which also has a peace treaty with Israel and hosts millions of Palestinian refugees, has canceled its summit with US President Joe Biden and urged for an immediate ceasefire and a political solution. Qatar, which has close ties with Hamas and provides financial aid to Gaza, has offered to mediate between the warring parties. Algeria, Tunisia, Sudan, and Kuwait have also expressed strong support for the Palestinian rights and denounced the Israeli atrocities.
The Arab League, the regional organization that represents 22 Arab states, has held an emergency meeting on October 19 to discuss the crisis and called for an end to the Israeli aggression and occupation. However, some observers say that the Arab League is weak and ineffective, as it lacks a unified vision and a common strategy to deal with the conflict.
The war between Israel and Hamas has also sparked protests and solidarity campaigns across the Arab world and beyond. Thousands of people have taken to the streets in cities such as Cairo, Beirut, Amman, Rabat, Tunis, Istanbul, London, Paris, Berlin, New York, and Toronto to express their anger and frustration at the ongoing bloodshed and demand justice for the Palestinians. Many have also used social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Clubhouse to raise awareness and mobilize support for Gaza.
The war between Israel and Hamas is not only a humanitarian tragedy but also a political challenge for the Arab world. It exposes the deep divisions and contradictions within the region and raises questions about its role and responsibility in resolving one of the longest-running conflicts in history.