The Arab world

Authored by: P. R. Kumaraswamy

The Routledge Handbook on the Israeli–Palestinian Conflict

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  March  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415778626
eBook ISBN: 9780203079553
Adobe ISBN: 9781136160691


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By politely but firmly rejecting President Barack Obama's suggestion in July 2009 that he make positive overtures towards Israel, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia reiterated the traditional Arab position vis-à-vis the Arab–Israeli conflict: no normalization with Israel before a just and comprehensive settlement for the Palestinians. Even though countries closer to the USA, such as Qatar and Bahrain, have been somewhat accommodating, the Arab mainstream has not abandoned its insistence on the centrality of the Palestinian issue for peace in the Middle East. Indeed, since the early twentieth century, even countries and societies which have had no direct conflict with Jewish political aspirations have anchored their foreign policy in the Palestinian cause. The fact that only two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan, maintain normal diplomatic relations with the Jewish state emphasizes the significance of the Palestinian issue and its resonance in the wider Arab world.

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