Last week the U.S. government participated in a two-day summit normalizing Israeli cooperation with four Arab states in what was hailed as a “historic” gathering. Hosted by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in the Negev Desert, part of occupied Palestine, the meeting excluded any Palestinian representatives. In addition to the Israeli foreign minister, the foreign ministers of Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken were present.
The meeting put Washington’s hypocrisy on full display. The U.S. government claims outrage over human rights in the Ukraine, and calls Russian President Vladimir Putin a war criminal. Yet, here it quietly colluded against the people of the region with some of the most reactionary and repressive regimes in the world, including the Israeli regime repeatedly accused of war crimes. The so-called watch dog of democracy and self-proclaimed defender of global human rights has no problem supporting the apartheid Zionist regime in Palestine, or the Saudi genocide in Yemen.
U.S. involvement in the summit is for geostrategic purposes and a drive for more control. Washington’s goals at the summit included pushing the participants to increase their support for sanctions and other moves against Russia, and to beef up the military cooperation of the regimes as a protectors of U.S. interests in the area so the Pentagon could free-up more fighter jets and ships to aim them at Russia and China.
Arab reaction: the enemy of the region’s people
Those arch reactionaries at the summit framed themselves as “moderates” in the region, there to “form a front against the extremists,” according to Gil Haskel, a foreign ministry official from Israel.
“This new architecture, the shared capabilities we are building, intimidates and deters our common enemies, first and foremost, Iran and its proxies,” said Israel’s foreign minister Yair Lapid.
The truth is that the Negev Summit is a continuation of the 2020 Abraham Accords where the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco made public their covert relations with Israel, and made it clear to progressives that the enemy of the Palestinian people is not only Zionism and imperialism, but also Arab reaction.
The summit hid its true intentions by continuing a narrative that the region’s many struggles for liberation from pro-imperialist regimes are a single entity, “Iran’s proxies.” This false narrative is amplified by the establishment media.
That narrative does not tell us about the millions of people who are struggling as a result of the agreements made at these summits or how and why they are actively resisting imperialism and its client states. It demonizes Iran as well, which has given support to many of these people’s struggles. This is a major reason why Iran was a major target of the summit.
What about the Israeli war crime of apartheid?
Just days before the summit, yet another human rights expert Michael Lynk, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, declared, “With the eyes of the international community wide open, Israel has imposed upon Palestine an apartheid reality in a post-apartheid world.” The report called on Israel to “completely and unconditionally” end the occupation.
Washington’s hypocrisy is on full display as it denounces the killing of civilians in Ukraine, but remains silent on the indiscriminate killings of Palestinians civilians by Israel and the attacks on civilians by the settlers it arms and protects. Since the start of the year, over two dozen Palestinians have been killed, and this violence will likely escalate during the holy month of Ramadan.
“We live in a state of tension and preparedness for any new attack from the settlers, and we fear for our lives,” said Nisfat al-Khuffash, a Palestinian activist describing violent acts committed by Israeli settlers in his village.
The U.S. continues to work with Egypt and Morocco, despite their practice of targeting journalists and human rights defenders, and Morocco’s continued occupation of the Western Sahara.
The lack of democracy does not matter in the UAE either, where political parties are banned and opponents to the ruling family are persecuted. Nor in Bahrain, where the Shia majority are routinely persecuted.
Washington’s silence on Yemen speaks volumes. Already deemed by the UN to be the world’s greatest humanitarian crisis, the humanitarian situation in the country is poised to get even worse between June and December, with the number of people who will be unable to meet their minimum food needs in Yemen possibly reaching a record 19 million people in that period. All this is being done with U.S. weapons and regular assistance from the Pentagon.
Yet, even under such difficult conditions, the resistance in Yemen continues. Last month, in an unprecedented move, Yemen brought the fight to Saudi Arabia. It destroyed an oil depot in Jeddah and other facilities in Riyadh. Their example shows that Washington and its proxies may plot against liberation struggles, but repression alone cannot stamp them out, and the people will have the final word.