For the sake of simplicity we may assume 3 individuals-A, B, C. We further assume that B is hostile to both A and C. From this antecedence if one draws conclusion that both A and C are friends since B is their common enemy, then the conclusion will be logically fallacious. Because there may be 3 possibilities-- friendship (between A and C), hostility and indifference (ie. neither hostility nor friendship exists). All of the possibilities to a large extent depend on their common interest which may or may not be conflicting.
The Middle East seems to be the most suitable example to test our hypothesis. A hasty glance at the historical background behind the creation of Israel reveals the fact that conflict and confrontation between the Zionist movement and the Arab residents of Palestine began to intensify after 1880s when immigration of European Jews to Palestine started rising. Still after that Palestine continued to remain a Muslim majority state till May 1948 when Israel was created as an independent Jewish homeland in Palestine (apropos the Balfour declaration in 1917). In the wake of creation of Israel the world witnessed a series of Arab- Israel clashes followed by some important historical events since the debutant war in 1948 (outcome: the newly born state Israel strengthened its foothold with armistice under UN.
The remainder of Palestine was held by Egypt having Gaza strip, Jordan having the West Bank and East Jerusalem and Syria holding a small part in the north),the 2nd war in 1956 (outcome: ceasefire came into effect under UN. Suez canal was returned to Egypt. US emerged as the champion to dominate the region.),the 3rd war in 1967 (outcome: Israel captured Sinai Peninsula and Gaza strip of Egypt, West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan and Golan Heights from Syria ) and the 4th war in 1973 (outcome:
Egypt and Syria regained a portion of their territory lost before). Much to the surprise of the Muslim world only after 4 years President Anwar Sadat of Egypt came to the Arab enemy's homeland at Jerusalem in 1977 and delivered a speech in the Israeli parliament. The Camp David Accord between Egypt and Israel was signed in March, 1979 establishing diplomatic relation in January, 1980.
The Sinai Peninsula was given back to Egypt. In exchange Israel got guarantee from Egypt for the freedom of passage through Suez and other nearby waterways. Egypt placed its own interest on the top of everything and the fate of Palestine as well as Jerusalem was deliberately set aside and excluded from the peace treaty. Consequently, all Arab countries broke diplomatic relations with Egypt which was expelled from the Arab League (from 1980 till 1989).
Jordan also danced to the same tune as Egypt did and recognized Israel in 1994 Turkey was the 1st Muslim country to recognize Israel followed by Iran which maintained close ties (1948-1979) with its present bitterest enemy Israel until the Iranian revolution and the fall of Pahlavi dynasty in 1979. The 'diplomatic pulse' among the Arab nations themselves depicted unpredictable fluctuations, particularly after the 2nd world war.
The dramatic change of diplomatic relation with Israel is quite discernible in case of Iran and Egypt, both distinctly lying at the opposite poles from each other pertaining to the principles of Islamic Ummah and liberating the occupied homeland of the Palestinians. The bold leap 'from friendship to enmity ' with Israel, following the fall of the USA backed Pahlavi dynasty in 1979, was rightly and appreciatively demonstrated by Iran as a positive counterblast to the Israeli occupation of Palestine which was welcomed by the Muslim world. Whereas, Egypt, through recognizing the Muslim world's common enemy Israel, leapt out of fear 'from enmity to friendship floor' -a game, which looked absolutely heinous and cowardly.
Through recognizing Israel in 1994 Jordan also became the' bird of same feather' as Egypt. Both Egypt and Jordan degraded into a ridicule and rift in the Arab world and proved themselves 'frail and empty vessel that sounds much'. Egypt regained Sinai from Israel not by military strength but by obeying what Israel dictated to do. Whereas Syria, with its head held high, never recognized the existence of Israel in exchange of its Golan Heights lost to Israel. Recently KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) called for Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territory which aroused bitter reaction from Israel. However, KSA's stand against Israel seemingly appeased the Muslim world.
Like most Arab countries Kuwait also strongly opposes normalizing ties with Israel. Following the USA-UK invasion of Saddam's Iraq in 2003, diplomats stood overenthusiastic to improve relationship between Iraq and Israel. But the then Iraqi PM outright rejected the proposal. Out of 192 member countries of UN only 35, including North Korea-a non-Muslim country, do not at present recognize Israel. Notable among the Muslim majority countries not recognizing Israel are Iran, KSA , Iraq and Kuwait. Since Israel is their common enemy we need to examine and evaluate the present status of the relationship among the 4 Muslim majority countries themselves.
(To be continued)
The writer is a former General Manager, Credit Information Bureau, Bangladesh Bank
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