On August 13, the surface of official relations. Saudi Arabia has shared intelligence, Bahrain has called for peace and the has penned deals with Israeli defense companies. For their part, Qatar previously maintained commercial ties with and Oman has hosted Israeli leaders over the years. Although their means and motivations differ, it is clear that -Israeli relations are rising.agreed in principle to normalize relations with in exchange for suspending the annexation of portions of the West Bank. This US-brokered deal reflects years of growing ties between and states that have long rested just below the
Israel-UAE Deal: Arab States Are Tired of Waiting on Palestine
Yet one affirm that “ maintains its position and will be the last country to normalize with .” Beyond Kuwaiti officials, analysts and academics, few have addressed ’s position on the – conflict.state rejects this trend: . According to Al-Qabas, a Kuwaiti newspaper, government sources
Adam Hoffman and Moran Zaga acknowledged in February that is “the only state that opposes even discrete normalisation with .” In January 2019, Giorgio Cafiero wrote that “ has become the one [Gulf Cooperation Council] state that refuses to see warmer ties with as prudent.” Even White House senior adviser Jared Kushner said to Reuters that is “out there taking a very radical view on the conflict to date in favour of the .”
Why doestake a different approach to compared to its Gulf neighbors? ’s democratic institutions, historical ties to Palestine and pan-Arab ideals are three factors that lead both its government and society to reject normalization.
Parliament and Parlors
assembly wields significant power and channels public sentiment against normalization. Notably, Speaker Marzouq al-Ghanim chastised Knesset members in 2017 as “occupiers and murderers of children.” Parliamentarian Osama al-Shaheen declared in late April 2020 that “ is against any cultural, political, or social normalization with the ‘Zionist entity.’” This statement is emblematic of the relative autonomy of ‘s Islamist political opposition and their position in parliament. As of August 18, 39 of ’s 50 parliamentarians signed a statement stressing their view against normalization with .’s most unique aspect is its semi-democratic institutions. The national
In addition to the formal institution of parliament, culture is also reflected in diwaniyya. These gatherings in parlors attached to homes represent the intersection of political campaigning and social commentary in . Diwaniyya are more autonomous from government oversight than other Gulf majlis gatherings, resulting in a more free exchange of ideas. Among publics, Kuwaiti civil society has been most able to pressure the government against normalization.’s distinct political
Another factor that distinguishes support of Iraq’s invasion of in 1990 degraded relations severely, resulting in the expulsion and exodus of most of ’s 400,000 Palestinian residents.is its link to one of ’s largest communities. Beginning with immigration in the 1940s, hundreds of thousands of settled in and ties improved after Yasser founded Fatah while living in the country from 1959. However, ’s
Ultimately, relations improved in 2013 when the praised as “proactive in supporting the Palestinian cause.” Today, around 80,000 Palestinian residents remain as an integral aspect of ’s normative commitment to Palestine.opened an embassy in City. During a recent international conference, Palestinian Ambassador Rami Tahboub
Perhaps the strongest aspect of remain dedicated to Arab nationalism and Muslim solidarity. Kuwaiti officials have been more forceful in their condemnation of than their peers. In July 2018, Mansour al-Otaibi, ’s ambassador to the United Nations, condemned use of force “against unarmed ” as “war crimes and crimes against humanity.” In February 2019, ’s deputy foreign minister, Khaled al-Jarallah, was quick to affirm that a group picture taken during the Warsaw security conference, in which Kuwaiti and representatives were part of, was not indicative of normalization.’s position is that its leaders, especially Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah,
boycotted the “Peace to Prosperity” workshop in Bahrain in June 2019. Members of its parliament criticized the gathering as “consecrating the occupation, imparting legitimacy onto it, and charging the and Arab states with the expenses and burdens of installing it.” Following US President Donald Trump’s unveiling of the so-called “deal of the century,” Ghanim criticized the plan and theatrically dropped it into a proverbial “dustbin of history.”has also broken from consensus toward American peace initiatives to end the – conflict.
A Steady Stance
attacks and Iranian subversion as its southern neighbors. What makes unique is its democratic tradition, historical links to Palestinian political movements and the commitment to pan-Islamic and Arab nationalist ideals.completely rejects the expanding cultural, diplomatic, economic and security ties characterizing broader – relations. Arguments related to divergent threat perceptions are insufficient to explain ’s exception considering it has historically been just as, and perhaps even more, vulnerable to jihadi
The Kuwaiti exception holds two implications for the study of international politics in the Middle East. First, claim that “Arab states have lost interest in the issue because there’s a whole host of other things going.” When analysts address Arab-Israeli relations, it is important to explore the causes and qualities of states’ distinct approaches. As its neighbors warm to , stands out.reveals that small states can wield sizable ideational power in international institutions. Second, challenges a recent
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
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