05/20/2021, 12.26
MIDDLE EAST
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A war between Israel and Hamas, a rift between the peoples and governments of the Gulf

In the ongoing conflict there is an increasingly marked division between leadership and ordinary people. The "profound weariness" of a "perpetual conflict" and the "economic interests" that prevail over rights and people. In Kuwait hundreds of people demonstrated against the Jewish state, burning flags. Protests also in Bahrain and Qatar.

Dubai (AsiaNews) - The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, combined with the multiple outbreaks of violence between Jews and Arabs in various Israeli and Palestinian cities that also worry the local Church, reveal an increasingly marked rift between peoples and leadership of the Gulf countries.

A diplomatic source stationed in Abu Dhabi, well aware of the reality of the region spoke to AsiaNews about the reality on the ground making a clear "distinction" between public opinion close to the Palestinian population and government leaders who want to preserve relations with Israel after the steps of the recent past and the establishment of diplomatic relations.

The source says “we need to distinguish between public opinion, the people and the leaders, the governments of the Gulf monarchies that now have a consolidated relationship" with the Jewish state.

There is also a general climate of “profound weariness from what is perceived as a perpetual conflict in the region. Finally, there is the aspect of economic interest, of established and consolidated business relationships that end up having pre-eminence "over the suffering of people" as in other parts of the world.

Yesterday, hundreds of people in Kuwait demonstrated in the streets in support of the Palestinian cause (and the population), burning Israeli flags in protest against the bombing of Gaza. The authorities, given the growing popular pressure, authorized the demonstrations despite the restrictions in place for the coronavirus.

A limited number of demonstrators gathered singing "Death to Israel" and brandishing placards and posters rejecting the process of normalizing relations between the Jewish state and some Gulf monarchies, especially the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.

"We send a message to our friends in GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries that any normalisation with the Zionists will not help. It helps the killer against the Palestinian people," said 43-year-old Osama al-Zaid, a Kuwaiti political activist.

The bloodbath taking place in Gaza, in response to the Hamas rocket launch, raises criticism and attacks in various nations in the area, whose peoples openly show their solidarity with the Palestinian victims. The opposition manifests itself through street protests, posts and campaigns on social media and in newspaper articles, complicating the plans for a progressive normalization of relations with Israel. Confirming that the Palestinian cause and the rights of its people, although now archived at the leadership level, remains an open - and sensitive - question when it affects ordinary people throughout the Middle East.

In Bahrain, civil society groups have signed an open letter calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. Street demonstrations are also recorded in Qatar, while in the Emirates numerous internet users have published the image of the keffiyeh on their profile, still others have relaunched hashtags in favour of the Palestinian people.

Madawi Al-Rasheed, Saudi scholar and dissident in exile in the United Kingdom, stresses that "despite the speeches marked by the normalization of relations in the official [including Saudi] media, the hearts of the people have not strayed from support for the Palestinian cause".

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