Arab states must act now and plan for the day after the war in Gaza

From: Chatham House
Published: Mon Jan 08 2024


Calls for a ceasefire have yet to yield results. Those in the region must prioritize a political settlement.

Almost three months into the devastating war in Gaza that has seen over 21,000 Palestinian deaths, no Arab state individually or collectively has yet to articulate any plan or strategy to manage the fallout from the war or to lay out a pathway to support Palestinian statehood.

Under pressure from their public's strong support for Palestine, careful not to endorse Israel's military campaign, and wary of divisive diplomatic and regional challenges ahead - including the risk of a broader regional conflict that could involve Hezbollah and Iran - states across the region have instead prioritized calls for a ceasefire and elevated the humanitarian catastrophe as the concern of first order.

Of course, they are right - saving lives and preventing ‘population transfer', as has been suggested by some of Israel's far-right ministers, must be the priority, but that should not preclude regional states from working together in support of Palestinians.

Nor should it prevent them from building on the successes of last year's series of de-escalations: between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the UAE and Turkey, and before that between the ‘gang of four' - Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt - and Qatar. To preserve these successes and to demonstrate regional agency, the time for states to act is now.

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Company: Chatham House

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