Articles > > VARIED REACTIONS

Articles - Addostour - Date: 2019-03-27
By: Oraib Al Rantawi

The Arab governments' reactions to Washington's decision to recognize Israel's 'sovereignty' over the occupied Syrian Golan Heights have varied between silence, 'indifference,' and asserting that the Golan Heights are Syrian and Arab but with no mention of Trump, his administration, and his decision based on a grammatical construction that uses a passive verb with an unknown subject.
 
There have also been expressions of regret regarding the decision, coupled with assertions that the Syrian Heights are Arab, and finally, denunciations and condemnations deeming this decision to be null and void.
 
The leading Arab capitals initially preferred to remain silent, possibly waiting and monitoring the reactions of other governments in the hope that they could avoid expressing the required positions. They confined themselves to what was issued by the regional organizations [the Arab League] of which they are members on the grounds that this expresses their position, despite the fact that these organizations are feeble and on the verge of collapse, having neither brought any benefit nor inflicted any harm on anyone.
 
But the successive regional and international reactions have apparently embarrassed many Arab capitals. They seemed be to losing the initiative and to be beaten in yet another round by their regional competitors, specifically .
 
Turkey and Iran, both of which rushed to raise the ceiling of their protests and denunciations of the decision, and both of which expressed their readiness to engage in political and diplomatic battles to confront it.
 
Against this background, silence was no longer an option, and continuous procrastination and hiding their heads in the sand were not longer possible. Remonstrating and angry positions began to be issued from capitals allied with Washington in succession, but without being coupled with any steps or measures, even of the soft diplomatic sort – or even dropping hints of that such steps and measures were likely – such as summoning the American ambassadors to express their anger and concern, or summoning their own ambassadors back from Washington for a few days for consultations. Nothing happened, and nothing of the sort will happen in the near future.
 
The most facetious and 'ugliest' reaction that I noted from a number of capitals belonging to various axes was the claim that Trump's decision will not change the Syrian plateau's legal and historic status, just as his decision regarding Jerusalem will not alter the city's legal and historic status. These are Arab lands occupied by Israel in 1967, and Israel will have to withdraw from them sooner or later.
 
This stance's ugliness and facetiousness stem from fact that this same Israel, the Israel that we know within the pre-1967 borders, is the fruit of similar decisions. At the time, it was said that such decisions would not change the legal and historic status of the occupied Palestinian lands, only to find ourselves today accepting the alteration of these lands' status, and merely protesting against any change that may occur as the result of further 'expansions' and 'additions.' And, in a few years' time, we will begin issuing statements expressing regret, denouncing, and protesting against the annexation of what remains of the West Bank, taking it for granted that Jerusalem had become Israel's capital and the Golan Heights have become part of Israel's sovereignty and 'territorial integrity.
 
The truth is that it is not the status of the Syrian plateau that has changed after 'the Golan decision', but the Arabs' positions, policies, and approaches. The decision to annex the Golan Heights has not changed the positions of certain major Arab capitals regarding Syria's return to the Arab League. There has been no change in the priorities of what remains of 'the official Arab order,' which now posits Iran as the primary enemy and views Israel as an actual or potential ally. There has been no change in the Arabs' positions, ending their domestic conflicts and feuds, and their destructive and ferocious wars in Yemen and Libya. Nothing has changed in their views and actions regarding Israel's voracious appetite for swallowing up more lands and rights.
 
There has been no change in the Arabs' positions, ending their domestic conflicts and feuds and their destructive and ferocious wars in Yemen and Libya. Nothing has changed in their views and actions regarding Israel's voracious appetite for swallowing up more lands and rights. There has been no change that raises the level of their support for the Palestinian people who live under two unjust burdens – occupation and blockade.
 
None this has have changed. But the Golan Heights's status, as well as that of Jerusalem, has changed. And this may become permanent, despite the statements of opposition to it, and despite the very carefully crafted Tweets protesting the decision.
 
And none of these things will change unless our circumstances change for the better.