‘The Withering of Arab League’

  • Category
    India & world
  • Published
    29th Sep, 2020

Context

The Palestinians have stepped down from a key Arab League role in protest at the regional bloc’s failure to take a stand against Israeli-Arab deals.

About

  • The League of Arab States, or Arab League, is a voluntary association of countries whose peoples are mainly Arabic speaking or where Arabic is an official language.
  • Its stated aims are to strengthen ties among member states, coordinate their policies and direct them towards a common good.
  • It has 22 members including Palestine, which the League regards as an independent state.
    • The Arab World consists of 22 countries in the Middle East and North Africa: Algeria, Bahrain, the Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

How does it function?

  • The highest body of the league is the Council, composed of representatives of member states, usually foreign ministers, their representatives or permanent delegates. Each member state has one vote, irrespective of its size.
  • The council meets twice a year, in March and September, and may convene a special session at the request of two members.
  • Day-to-day, the league is run by the general secretariat. Headed by a secretary-general, it is the administrative body of the league and the executive body of the council and the specialised ministerial councils.

Reason behind Palestine’s decision

  • The Palestinians had been hoping the League would condemn deals signed last week in Washington, where the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain agreed to normalize ties with Israel.
  • The Palestinians called it a betrayal and said normalization should be offered only in return for Israel's withdrawal from Palestinian territories
  • Earlier this month, the Palestinians failed to persuade the Arab League to condemn nations breaking ranks and normalising relations with Israel.

What’s the latest normalisation ‘Deal’?

  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain are the latest countries in the Arab region to formally establish diplomatic ties with Israel in deals brokered by the United States.
  • The only two Arab countries Israel has signed peace treaties with are Egypt and Jordan, in 1979 and 1994 respectively.
    • Egypt and Jordan share borders with Israel and have both fought wars with Israel in the past.
  • But the latest normalisation deals with Israel come as part of a broader diplomatic push by US, which earlier this year revealed the so-called Middle East peace plan, which has been categorically rejected by the Palestinians.
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