Ibn Sina – Naučnoistraživački institut Sarajevo


Ibn Sina

Naučnoistraživački institut, Sarajevo

Ibn Sina
Naučnoistraživački institut, Sarajevo

tribina online 7.5

On Occasions of the Quds Day, an Online Discussion Was Held in Sarajevo, Entitled: “Normalisation of the Relations between Arabic Countries and Israel, and the Future of Palestine”

The Science and Research “Ibn Sina” Institute in Sarajevo, on Friday, May 7, 2021, regarding the International Quds Day, held an online discussion entitled: “Normalisation of the Relations between Arabic Countries and Israel, and the Future of Palestine”. The moderator of the discussion Nermin Hodžić emphasised the notion that the International Quds Day has been marked all over the world for the last 40 years every final Friday within the month of Ramadan, as a day of support for the Palestinian people in their fight for fundamental human rights.

Hodžić stressed that the so-called Palestinian issue has for more than 70 years stood as the matrix issue within the Middle East territories, whereas in that so-called core of the world, one of the greatest springs of energy, different interests are met or collided when it comes to smaller, larger, local and global powers. On occasion of the Quds Day, and following the topic’s prominence, the “Ibn Sina” Institute presented a discussion panel wherein diplomats, journalists and political commentators had a chance to speak their views about the normalisation of the relations between Arabic countries with Israel and the reflection of the topic on Palestine’s future.

Slađana Trifković, the directress of the Centre for Geostrategic Studies in Belgrade, reminded of the history and the origins of the Palestine-Israel conflicts and it being the constant generator of conflicts in the Middle East. The position of the Palestine people has worsened ever since Israel was formed. The official, foreign politics of Israel declares well-meaning neighbourly relations with all Arabic countries, however in its practice, Israel has shown no willingness to compromise. The Arabic world has been humiliated by Israel’s demeanour towards the Palestinians, who have been robbed of their nationality and stand exposed to constant undermining and the destruction of fundamental human rights. Trifković stated that the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has taken its course towards the normalisation with countries of the Persian Gulf and North Africa. At the same time, the USA with President Trump, who was particularly inclined towards Israel, have taken up the role of establishing peace in the Middle East. As Trifković explains, the plan of the US has solely considered Israel’s interests and it was unacceptable as the solution for the Middle East, because it essentially offered no compromise. The US is losing the position in the Middle East, that is the ability to control the region, however they also lose the ability to limit the influence of Russia, China and Iran. As is the opinion of the directress for Geostrategic Studies in Belgrade, Israel will no longer have more opportunity to bully its neighbours in the future, because the US is withdrawing from the region. The transconfiguring of power in the Middle East will undoubtedly turn the tides of processes in this region, which will eventually lead to the return to the framework of international law, Trifković concludes.

Zlatko Dizdarević, a journalist and a diplomat, with a long-year experience of dealing with the Middle East, in his own reflection on the current Middle-eastern situation stated: If some political analyst had mentioned 10 years ago a possibility of ‘opening up’ Arabic countries towards Netanyahu, or that the Arabic league would not be unanimous in denouncing the diplomatic establishment relations with Tel Aviv – as it happened last year with the case of the United Arabic Emirates and Bahrein – few would have believed that we were talking about serious analysts. However, that still happened. As well as the routine process of ‘Israelisation’ in making fresh arrangements with Sudan and Morocco. Within inter-Arabic relations, especially among the lands of the Persian Gulf, a partnership of interests has been shaken, and the smaller ideological similarity. The Arabic league is not as homogenous as it had been before. Additionally, it is also the case with the six state members of the GCC. There have been many topics and spheres, economic, political, military, among themselves but also in relation to others within the Arabic world, upon which the once-close members of the GCC distanced themselves. An open influence of various, external (un)friendly persona on the Arabic relationships just additionally furthered these gaps. The “themes” of separation are many: from a sometimes fairly unanimous, friendly and ‘allied’ relation with Palestine, which is no longer existent, all the way to the vividly noticeable perception of the so-called ‘Arabic Spring’, then the issues about Yemen, Qatar, the roles of ‘Muslim Brothers’ in the region, until various traditional differences in Islam, the relation towards Russia and Turkey and the Middle East… Netanyahu is no longer suited for Washington, as it was in Trump’s time. He is especially not suited in his estimation of Biden: If the nuclear treaty is not renewed with Tehran, Iraq will only then go to the nuclear forces. Therefore, the return of the Treaty and peace with Iran, which must be correct and without deception in sanctions, is in the best interests of the leaders who will remain in charge, without hysterical war-threats, atomic war included, as is the case with Netanyahu. There are some among the Arabs who slowly realise this. The calculated nearing to Israel is slowing down, and the eyes are directed towards Vienna and the yonder negotiations about the renewing of the Iranian nuclear agreement from which they have not yet existed. The powers of those who are sane-minded are shy, yet visible, against those who by speaking of wars try to preserve governments, positions, interests. Therefrom comes the belief: that we ought to hope that it is not too late for peace, regardless of how much Israel, Trump, Riad and similar folk in the Middle East thought otherwise.

Hajrudin Somun, a diplomat and a journalist who likewise for decades deals with the Palestinian issue and the issues of the Middle East, in his own analysis expressed a certain degree of pessimism for the future of Palestine, whereas concerning the actual normalisation of the Arabic countries and the American plan for the resolution of the Palestinian issue, Somun said the following: Israel was anticipating the moment when the US would get a president who would make a turn in that direction. They finally got him in shape of Donald Trump. Therefore, the so-called ‘peace-plan’ of the century was forged, allowing for the annexation of the occupied territories, an agreement for the building of new Jewish settlements upon the Palestinian soil, the moving of the American Embassy in Jerusalem and the recognition that it is an undivided Palestinian capitol. And the establishment of the diplomatic relations of Israel with Arabic gulf countries and Marocco, while a good moment is anticipated at the Saudi court. The disappointment ensued after Trump’s defeat during the American elections and with the arrival of administration and President with different views on Israel’s politics and the Middle-eastern situation. However, Joe Biden and his team which will carry out his politics in the Middle East place efforts to correct some bad choices of Trump’s administration, the worst being the withdrawal from the nuclear treaty with Iran. But even he will not return the wheel back at certain steps made by Trump, since they fall into wider interests of the fundamental American interests in the region. It is possible that they will, for example, recant the agreement with Israel to annex the occupied Palestinian territories and Syrian Golan, but they will not move the American Embassy to Tal Aviv. The diplomatic relations of Israel and Arabic countries likewise fall into that category. When concerning the Palestinians, certain positive steps have been already taken, such as the reconstruction of the presidency of the Palestinian Government in Washington, which in turn implies the reconstruction of diplomatic relations. Or the renewing of a one-part financial aid which is 75 million American Dollars, more of a charity than aid. In some documents of the State Department one can again find the notion that Israel had occupied the territories of Palestine. Again there is a possibility of resolving the crisis on the basis of two countries, the state of Israel and the state of Palestine. The damage imposed during Trump’s administration, however, may never be fully corrected or substantiated. Their destiny is given to Israel and to those Arabic countries who provided even less charity to the Palestinians than the Americans.

Osman Softić, the political analyst and commentator reflected on the Abraham Agreement, and he stated: for the US it is normal that Arabs accept Israel. This trend is not new and it was started during Carter’s administration and Camp David. Biden also accept the treaty and there is a form of trade in all of that. The US gave concessions to the UAE, to Sudan and Marocco for the signing of the treaty. The US sold the F35 UAE, allowed the Morocco to keep the occupation of the Western Sahara and abolished Sudan’s sanctions. Among Arabic countries there is no resistance, and the only real resistance is Iran.

“There are problems in normalising relations”, he said. Rich Arabic countries should take a stand against Israel’s occupation and annexation of the Palestinian territories, or perhaps to use their economic strength to change some of the Israel’s politics. On the other hand, USA withdraws from the Middle East, and it appears that Israel has not achieved anything significant in the process of normalisation with the Arabic countries. As long as the rights of the Palestinian people are abolished, as long as Gaza is bombarded and the settlements are raised, in Israel crisis will prevail.

Concerning the Iranian role and military might, Osman Softić said: “The most important axis of resistance against Israel is nothing else but Iran, and the military might of Iran and its regional allies cannot be overlooked. Iran appears intelligently in the regional events attempting to surpass ethno-nationalistic and religious differences and tensions”.