Do Arab States Support Palestine?

Tomas Pueyo
15 min readOct 23, 2023

If you look at a map of countries that recognize Palestine, you’d think most Arab states want an independent Palestine.

All the yellow and orange countries recognize Palestine. Notably, most Arab countries only recognize Palestine and not Israel. Source.

This is reflected in the beliefs of their citizens: Most Arabs think the Palestinian cause is their own.

And of course, we see that in the manifestations of support for Palestine on the streets of many Arab countries.

Protesters gather for a show of solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, near Israel’s embassy in Amman, Jordan, Oct. 7, 2023. Source.

We’ve seen it again in the recent attacks by Hamas on Israel. Despite the atrocities, many countries have directly supported Hamas, not called it out, or have blamed Israel.

Source link

Given all that, you’d think the rulers of Arab countries would be doing everything they can to prop up a Palestinian state. They’re not.

The Abortion of a Nation

In the 1948 war between Israel and its Arab neighbors, Egypt occupied Gaza, and Jordan occupied the West Bank. They could have created Palestinian states, but they didn’t. They incorporated them into their own territories.

Notice the small pink rectangle on the coast between Egypt and Israel. That’s Gaza, and it was a part of Egypt between 1948 and 1967. The yellow-green blob inside the orange of Israel is the West Bank, which belonged to Jordan at that point. Remember these countries because they are Israel’s main Arab neighbors and we’ll talk a lot about them: Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.

This is much less outrageous than it seems.

As far as I know, there was not a single Arab nation-state in the world before the 20th century. We have a hard time understanding this now, but nationalism didn’t really exist until the 1700s, it spread around the world in the 1800s, and exploded in the 1900s during decolonization. After World War II, there were only about 50 countries in the world — about 200 today. In the past, the Muslim world cared more about religion and was ruled by empires. There was little feeling of nationhood.

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Tomas Pueyo

2 MSc in Engineering. Stanford MBA. Ex-Consultant. Creator of applications with >20M users. Currently leading a billion-dollar business @ Course Hero