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The Shortcomings of Arab Governments During The Israel-Gaza War

posted on: Mar 13, 2024

By: Bishara A Bahbah / Arab America Featured Columnist

Since the beginning of the Israel-Gaza war, Palestinians have been dismayed and angered by several Arab countries. On one hand, these countries are providing life-saving assistance to the Palestinians. On the other hand, they have been helping Israel to soften the consequences of the war on its economy.

There is no need to recount the damage that has been inflicted on Gaza and the exorbitant death toll Palestinians have had to endure at Israel’s war machinery supported by over 100 U.S. arms sales agreements to Israel by the United States since October of last year.

First, let us talk about Egypt, which has a direct border with Gaza. Why would Egypt not allow aid to flow freely into Gaza? We are told that Egypt is afraid that if Israel does not inspect the aid shipments, then Israel will bomb those shipments.

My answer to that is to let Israel bomb those aid shipments and let the world see Israel’s brutality. Of course, the world is seeing live on television the amount of devastation that Palestinians in Gaza have suffered at Israel’s hands.

We are told that Egypt wants to avoid a military confrontation with Egypt. Let there be a military confrontation between Egypt and Israel. The latter cannot afford to have more fronts than it does currently – Hezbollah is attacking from the North, Israel’s army is fighting Hamas in Gaza, pro-Palestinian groups are engaging Israel from Iraq and Syria, and the Houthis of Yemen have disrupted world trade by attacking ships destined to Israel. The Houthis have also launched multiple rockets in Israel’s direction.

What Palestinians expect from Egypt is to allow the unhindered flow of aid from the Sinai into Gaza regardless of Israeli restrictions.

Second, immediately after Hamas attacked Israel, people witnessed trucks full of vegetables coming to it directly from Jordan to make up for the unharvested vegetables in the ring of settlements surrounding Gaza.


No one asked Jordan to fight alongside Palestinians in Gaza. But, providing Israel with inexpensive vegetables from Jordan is unacceptable. Yes, the Jordanians have dropped food from the air into the Gaza Strip. However, Jordan should not play the two sides. Jordan’s Palestinian majority is taking note of what is happening. Demonstrations in Jordan supporting Palestinians are some of the largest in the world. If I were the royal family, I would be more concerned about Jordan’s political stability over providing Israel with inexpensive vegetables.

Third, because of the Houthis, ships heading to Israel via the Red Sea have been forced to go around the Cape of Good Hope (Africa) to avoid Houthi attacks. Ever since there have been numerous reports that goods destined to go to Israel are using the UAE as a staging point, those goods are loaded onto trucks that drive through the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan to Israel.

If the reports above are accurate, those Arab countries should cease.

While Palestinians are getting slaughtered in a genocidal manner, Arab countries should be supporting the Palestinians, not the Israelis.

Admittedly, the UAE is paying the cost of the water route between Cyprus and Gaza carrying humanitarian aid to the Gazans. Aid, albeit inspected by Israel, is expected to flow in quantities that Israel does not control, thus circumventing the Rafah crossing and crossings between Israel and Gaza. Israel has used the amount of aid going into Gaza as a war weapon to punish Gaza.

Saudi Arabia has been providing the Palestinians with $200 million in annual aid in addition to the aid provided to UNRWA. Nevertheless, these amounts are a pittance compared to what the Saudis pay for the sponsorship of sports events on its territory.

Egypt should stop the unethical practice of forcing evacuees from Gaza, including the injured, to pay for admission into the Sinai. Recently, a vast hospital ship from Indonesia has arrived off the coast of Suez. Palestinians who have been injured during the ongoing war should be allowed unhindered access to this hospital ship in addition to others that are being provided by several countries.

I want to end this article with an appeal to those Arab countries: your people are supporting Palestinians without conditions; stand by the will of your people, please!

About the Author: Dr. Bishara Bahbah is a senior fellow and distinguished columnist at Arab He taught at Harvard University, where he served as the associate director of its Middle East Institute. He is currently president of the Palestinian American Congress and previously a negotiator in the Middle East peace talks.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Arab America.

The reproduction of this article is permissible with proper credit to Arab America and the author.

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