It is inaccurate, distorting, even misleading, to call the conflict between the Palestinians and Israelis the “Middle East conflict” or the “Arab Israeli conflict.” At a minimum, the Middle East includes Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and UAE. Other definitions may go further to include Libya, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, but even if we stick to the smaller set of countries, the usage of this term can be problematic.
Jordan and Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, they maintain diplomatic relations, and even before the peace treaties, relations between the governments of Jordan and Israel were friendly. As far as Iraq is concerned, it is true that historically, Saddam’s Iraq had been in conflict with Israel. Iraq also supported the Palestinian resistance movements financially and politically. But since that time, and especially after 2003, Iraq has been too occupied with its own problems to have an actual conflict with Israel.
Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and UAE don’t enjoy formal diplomatic relations with Israel, but neither have they engaged in actual conflict. The practical life of the average citizen in any of those countries is not in the slightest impacted by Israel (or vice versa). The only other countries in the Middle East that have a palpable problem with Israel today are Lebanon and Syria. On any average day, the life of a Lebanese or a Syrian is nowhere impacted by Israel, though. Existentially, it is the Palestinian’s day-to-day life, particularly in the West Bank and Gaza, that is made unnecessarily so much more difficult, if not unbearable, by the Jewish State. Read More