CAIRO: As Arab leaders bask in the Mediterranean coastal city of Sirte in Libya today in yet another summit to “rescue Jerusalem , Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu returns victorious from a trip to Washington, basking in his own glory of reasserting Israel’s rights to continue occupying the Holy Land.
Two weeks of (theatrical) crisis between Israel and the US, which kicked off when the former announced plans to build 1,600 new units in Ramat Shlomo in East Jerusalem ironically during a visit to Israel by US Vice President Joe Biden aimed at promoting US-brokered indirect peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
But no more than ten days had passed after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described the timing – note: not the content – of the announcement as an “insult , the very same Clinton waxed lyrical about US relations with Israel during the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) banquet, vowing that American support for Israel’s security remains “rock solid, unwavering, enduring and forever.
As Netanyahu defiantly proclaimed that Jerusalem is not a settlement, but the eternal capital of Israel and that building in Jerusalem was like building in Tel Aviv, and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared Congress’ commitment to Israel, with no mention whatsoever of settlements (“We in Congress stand by Israel, something [on which] we have a joint bipartisan commitment, she said), it becomes more difficult to believe that relations between Israel and the US are, or will ever be “tense as commentators are making is sound.
But that’s old news.
The new news is that in keeping with the summit traditions of the Arab League – often undermined by no-shows mostly because of personal disputes among leaders as well as embarrassing on-camera antics – the Associated Press reported that during ministerial meeting prior to the summit on Thursday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari briefly walked out in objection to Libyan President Qaddafi’s pledging support to a group of Saddam loyalists he met in Libya earlier last week.
Zebari had incidentally walked out of a session discussing the stalled Middle East peace process during which Arab ministers were hammering out plans to raise funding for Palestinians in East Jerusalem from an annual $150 million to $500 million, as part of their hope to reach a strong Arab stance in the face of Israel’s expansionist settlement policies.
Miraculously, the Arab states are only just discussing recommendations to create a new permanent Arab League commissioner position to follow the issue of Jerusalem – yes, the same Jerusalem that has been annexed since 1967.
We’ve all had enough of the condemnations and populist speeches by Arab leaders against Israel’s usurpation of Jerusalem and its plans to one day tear down Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The current summit promises to be no different from previous ones, only this time the stakes are much higher because if the Arabs don’t by some Divine intervention, come up with a solid, uncompromised, unified plan to stop the Israelis there may soon no longer be an Aqsa Mosque to save.
Rania Al Malkyis the Chief Editor of Daily News Egypt.