Gaza: Arab states must end normalisation with Israel

Gaza: Ending normalisation deals with Israel is the least the Arab world can do
7 min read

Lamis Andoni

19 October, 2023
The US is not just backing Israel in its genocidal attack on Gaza: it is actively participating in it, argues Lamis Andoni. Hamas' Al-Aqsa Flood assault didn't just damage Israel's status & reputation regionally - but also those of the US.
(L-R) Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani at the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords in 2020 [Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty]

The Al-Aqsa Flood operation has turned all US calculations on their heads, striking hard at the Arab-Israeli normalisation process which has been accelerating. It has also (for now) ended Israel's goal of full integration in the region, and the total isolation of Palestinians. This disrupted plan was to be followed by the gradual eradication of Palestinians from their land altogether. The Israeli vision was that their physical erasure would be accompanied by their erasure from Arab consciousness and the political landscape. 

The merciless revenge operation going on right now should therefore be understood as both a response by Israel and the US. The war crimes we are witnessing today - including the annihilation of entire families - go beyond being an Israeli desire to defeat Hamas, other Palestinian factions, and the Palestinian people – they are also Washington's revenge.

Having been jolted into the realisation that Palestinians' ability to resist has not been exhausted, nor even weakened, the US wishes to send a message to the world. This is because Hamas' 7 October attack has shaken not only Israel's reputation and prestige, but that of the US.

The 7 October attack proved, to a devastating effect, the limitations and impotence of Israel's (and by extension, that of the US) much vaunted technology and military prowess when faced with Palestinian fighters deeply rooted to their land and for whom there is no limit to the sacrifices they will make for freedom.

This was a rude awakening given the US believed it had already successfully subjugated the Arab regimes and had made great progress in subduing the people across the region. It has meant that the question now is not just about defeating Hamas militarily but also achieving the initial goal of controlling the entire region. For this reason, the US isn't just supporting Israel in its war to annihilate Gaza – it is actively participating in it.

It is clear from the statements of President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, that the US will continue to work alongside Israel towards the shared goal of eliminating Hamas altogether.  

Nothing that evokes or symbolises a movement that has breached Israel's military arsenal will be allowed to continue to exist in Gaza. After all, Israel's security and military superiority have been unshakable priorities for successive US administrations, democrat and republican, for decades. The Al-Aqsa Flood Operation has shattered this status quo in an astonishing and unexpected fashion.  

And while Israel and the US had been making a lot of noise about Iran's nuclear reactors as posing an existential threat, neither had expected that the threat would actually come from besieged Gaza. Though the noise surrounding the 'Iranian bogeyman' has also been part and parcel of media and propaganda efforts to justify Israeli aggression, expansion, and domination over the region.  

Indeed, the Al-Aqsa Flood has revealed to the US and Israel, once more, that the resistance of the Palestinian people continues. Ultimately it has demonstrated that coexistence is not possible between a racist, colonial project and a people who believe in their own rights, history and freedom.  

What we can expect now, is an ongoing murderous response from the US that seeks to eliminate Hamas by any means available, whatever the human cost.

Through the statements coming out of the US and on what American Zionists, especially those with close links to Congress and the White House, are promoting and advocating, certain predictions can be made about about upcoming steps.

Firstly, it is highly likely that the forced displacement taking place inside the Gaza Strip will continue alongside the destruction of residential tower blocks, civilian facilities and vital infrastructure, both to enforce displacement and to decimate the infrastructure. This will ensure that Gaza becomes uninhabitable without 'Western' intervention, and the reconstruction process will only be allowed to take place under US-Israeli 'supervision'.

Secondly, after Gaza has been destroyed (with US support), we should cast our minds back to the 2001 Twin Tower attacks. Following 11 September the US called for bombing any states (Afghanistan and Iraq) which opposed the US and sending them back to the stone age, after which they were rebuilt.  

We can expect for this experiment to be replicated in Gaza. However, the goal will be to transform it into a 'demilitarised buffer zone'. For the US and Israel, this is actually the only acceptable form any densely populated Palestinian territory may take.  

Thirdly, Israel will threaten all Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem with the same fate as Gaza in response to any continued resistance activity. The war crimes in Gaza will likely be followed up with 'uprooting' operations against Palestinian resistance groups and factions elsewhere.  

Fourthly, the above steps could not happen without the cooperation of the Arab regimes – even if the formal normalisation drive is temporarily hindered.  

Here I issue a warning. 

Even if normalisation does not expand through the region, or materialise through treaties, and even if agreements are suspended, it is effectively continuing through the security cooperation between Israel and various integral parties: the Palestinian Authority (PA), Egypt, Jordan, and the Abraham Accords signatory states, all of which have effectively surrendered themselves to the Zionist vision.

This security cooperation has to end.

Ultimately, however, it is not necessarily the case that the operation to destroy Gaza will succeed, despite the deep involvement of the US and Washington's role in perpetrating the crime alongside its partner, whether with weapons, propaganda or the demonisation of the Palestinians.

The hope is that the reading of Washington's goals, as laid out by this piece, will contribute to a discussion on what we can do to confront the savage revenge being exacted on the people of Gaza.   

There is no mystery to the timing of the Al-Aqsa Flood operation. The erasure of the Palestinian cause – with groundwork for such a goal clearly underway by both the US and Israel - was bound to see a response; even if the scale and nature of the operation was staggering. But the Palestinian resistance, like the rest of the Palestinian people, fully understood what was in store for them.  

However, nobody could have anticipated a response with this strength of will, force, audacity, organization, and meticulous planning – all conducted on a level of secrecy difficult that's to fathom.

Gaza War 2023:
Western media dehumanises Palestinians to justify Israel's genocide in Gaza
Palestinians’ will to live is greater than Israel’s will to destroy
In the face of Western hypocrisy, the people stand with Gaza
Memoirs of a Palestinian 'human animal' from Gaza

This is the reason that the US has been utterly brazen in its open support for Israel and in its sheer contempt for Palestinian lives. The Palestinian struggle has, once again, proven itself to be a major ongoing impediment in the US' path and plan for the region.

Our response to this plan - and this has long been the case - is to fight as hard as we can to outrightly reject normalization between Israel and the Arab states.

This is of course not an attempt to minimise the magnitude of the catastrophe in Gaza, and immense suffering of its people, which we must all have the utmost respect for. Normalisation and piling pressure on the Arab regimes to reject the US plan is really very least that we can do. And we must do it.  

Lamis Andoni is a Palestinian journalist, writer and academic who launched al-Araby al-Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister edition, as its editor in chief.

This is an edited and abridged translation from our Arabic edition. To read the original article click here.

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Opinions expressed in this article remain those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The New Arab, its editorial board or staff, or the author's employer.