Years after France and Britain defeated the Ottoman Empire, which captured much of the Arab world, the Arab League was formed in Cairo, to promote the independence, sovereignty, affairs and interests of its 22 member countries. As the US remained on the league’s good side, much of the Arab world saw the Americans as selfless people, comparing them with the selfishness and duplicity associated with the Europeans.
Over the time, relations between the US and Arab States saw various ups and downs, severing with every conflict. As good as their relations are economically, both have failed to maintain the same on a political level. The Arab world is the third largest exporter to the US, and the US is the largest importer of the Arab world. While coming to the import of skills, the US has provided the Arab League with highly skilled petroleum engineers, along with setting up educational institutions all over the Arab World.
The Arab League, being a union of Arab-speaking African and Asian countries, has had on many occasions a conflict of interests with the US’ decisions. The country’s recognition and support of Israel in the United Nations has decreased its overall reputation and role in the Arab states. With its decision to support Israel, the US was seen as the “Friend of the Arabs Enemy” Israel, thus becoming the enemy.
Arab League’s one major reason behind not supporting Israel is the latter’s conflict with Palestine. As the US is making attempts to resolve the conflict as part of the Israeli–Palestinian peace process, only partial success has been achieved by the end of 2019. On Saturday, Palestine leader Mahmoud Abbas announced that the country was cutting all ties with Israel and the US, including security cooperation.
The move came after the Arab League rejected President Trump’s plan, saying that it failed to meet “the minimum rights and aspirations of Palestinian people”. According to the plan, Israel would retain full control of the contested city of Jerusalem as its “undivided capital,” and the Palestinians would be allowed to declare a capital adjacent to Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, Abbas indicated that Washington’s Middle East peace plan was seen unveiling a controversial path that seemingly favored Israel. “We are informing you that there will be no relations with you (Israel) and the United States, including on security cooperation,” Abbas said at an extraordinary meeting of the Arab League in Cairo.
Abbas added that the move followed the “disavowal of signed agreements and international legitimacy” by the US and Israel. Israel will have to “bear responsibility as an occupying power” for the Palestinian territories and Palestinians will press ahead with resistance using peaceful means, he continued.
Similar declarations have been made by Abbas previously too, although it was not clear that he would take it seriously this time or not. In July 2017, Abbas announced the suspension of security coordination with Israel during a dispute over the flash point Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem but it was resumed months after.
At the Cairo meeting, Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the US plan was equivalent to creating “a one state with two categories of people, meaning an apartheid system, as it makes Palestinians second class citizens.”
“It is our right to accept or reject (the plan) … though the American proposal in reality appeared to be a dictation, or an offer that cannot be rejected or even discussed,” Gheit added.
It seems as if the US has largely failed in persuading the Arab League to promote its Middle Eastern peace plan. As the Arab leaders voiced, “not to… cooperate with the US administration to implement this plan”, the move sights to end the US’ dominance in between Israel-Palestine conflict.