Conflicts in Middle East Israel now has a representative in the Arab League

Israel now has a representative in the Arab League

Israeli Military vehiclesWe know that what is known as the Arab League died a long time ago and no longer exists in the Arab conscience. We also know that its decisions and recommendations are nothing more than ink on papers that have been filed away in forgotten drawers in a building overlooking the banks of the River Nile in Cairo.

However, for its secretary-general to be hostile towards the Palestinian people when the Palestinian cause was once the core of the Arab League (which since its inception until recently — before the general Arab deterioration — defended it as a just cause), is something we cannot accept under any circumstances. Added to this is the fact that the said official is Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the last Egyptian foreign minister of Hosni Mubarak’s rule, before the people overthrew him with their great revolution of 25 January 2011.

The least we can say about Aboul Gheit’s behaviour is that it provokes the emotions of the Arab masses in all Arab countries, especially in those which witnessed revolutions and aspire to freedom and dignity. This man is opposed to these revolutions and described the Arab Spring as a conspiracy against the Arab states.

We will never forget his position during the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip in 2008, when he stood in a press conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni while she declared war on the Gaza Strip, and he smiled. We also won’t forget the scene when the press conference was over and Livni was about to fall down the stairs; he held her hand tenderly and kept her from falling. He also stood with the 2006 Israeli attack on Lebanon, and condemned Hezbollah, saying that the Shia militia provoked Israel and carried out a miscalculated operation by capturing two Israeli soldiers; the Israelis “have a short temper,” he said at the time.

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We also can’t forget the time when the Egyptian government, during the Mubarak era, intensified the siege on the Gaza Strip and our Palestinian brothers crowded the entrance to the closed crossing. Some of the young Palestinians managed to remove the barbed wire that separates Egyptian Rafah from Palestine’s Rafah; the Egyptians joined hands with the Palestinians and they hugged each other as tears of joy flowed in an amazing scene that moved the hearts of Arabs everywhere. It was nostalgic to think of the time long since gone when we were one nation and one people separated by oppressive colonialism and kept apart by barbed wire in order to separate each nation into the cantons sketched out by the colonisers. After the Rafah incident, Aboul Gheit threatened to break the legs of the Palestinians if they tried to break the barrier again.

This is the secretary-general of the Arab League, who is supposed to embrace all of the Arab nations under the organisation’s wing. Israel should be happy because, quite clearly, it now has a representative inside the Arab League, a guaranteed soulmate who, after supporting Israel behind closed doors, is now out in the open.

There is still one question left, though. Why does the Arab League secretary-general always come from Egypt? There is no clause in its charter which stipulates this. It seems to be a tradition that hasn’t been broken apart from when Egypt made peace with Israel and the league’s headquarters moved from Cairo to Tunis. What is stopping us from breaking this tradition again, this oppressive and unfair tradition, and allowing the position to rotate among all of the member states? There are young Arabs who are qualified and very knowledgeable in political science who would be much better than Egyptian ex-foreign ministers. Or do the Arab leaders prefer the Arab League to remain nothing more than a cosy retirement home for the elderly?