Report: Arab States Quietly Back Israeli Annexation

Senior Arab officials say they won’t risk relations with Trump and Israel for the sake of the Palestinian cause

Arab states actually back Israeli annexation of Jordan Valley, if that's what Trump wants.
Illustration - EPA-EFE/KHALED ELFIQI

Don’t believe everything you hear. Palestinian propagandists and their allies in the media would have you believe that the entire Arab world is in an uproar over Israel’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley and other parts of the so-called “West Bank.”

Reports suggest that’s simply not true.

A number of Arab states have made quite clear in recent years that for them, the Palestinian nationalist cause isn’t all that important. (See: “Saudi Crown Prince Says the Palestinians Should Shut Up!”) For them, the Iranian threat is a much more pressing issue, and they see Israel as a key ally in that fight. They also worry about upsetting relations with the United States, given that the looming Israeli annexation is actually part of President Donald Trump’s vision for the Middle East.

Senior Arab officials who spoke recently to the Hebrew daily Israel Hayom admitted that while their governments are opposing the Israeli annexation in official statements, behind closed doors they are green-lighting the move.

A senior Jordanian government official said that despite gloomy warnings to the media, Jordan knows that if it “suspends or cancels the peace treaty [with Israel], its position in the holy places of Islam in Jerusalem will be harmed. King Abdullah II also prefers to see the Jordan’s western border in the hands of Israeli military forces, and not Palestinian forces or multinational forces. With all due respect to the Palestinians, Jordan’s national interests are more important to the king, as is his access to President Trump.

A Saudi diplomat who is close to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Israeli newspaper, “The official Arab position is against any move that allegedly infringes on the rights of the Palestinians. However, the Palestinians must understand that…Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan will not endanger their relationship with the Trump Administration for them.

The Saudi added that the working assumption in the Arab world is that Trump will win the upcoming US presidential election, and push forward his vision for Middle East peace. He said that if the Palestinians had wanted to conclude a deal more in line with their demands, then they should have done so when they had a more sympathetic ear in the Obama White House. (See: “A History of Palestinian Rejectionism”)

A senior Egyptian security official stressed that for all the Arab states in question, Iran’s quest for regional hegemony is far more pressing than the Palestinian issue. And in the fight against Iran, he noted, “the United States and Israel carry great weight. No Arab leader will jeopardize their own interests in this regard for the sake of the Palestinians.