Palestine’s Arab neighbors seem to have taken a bold stance on Israel’s genocide of Gaza in a public show of solidarity with Palestinians. But behind those strong words, states like Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE are quietly assisting Israel.
These four nations are working together to circumvent the actions of one of the few regional actors who are challenging Israel concretely: Yemen’s Ansar Allah. In a bid to alleviate pressure on Israel from the Ansar Allah (a.k.a the Houthi) blockade of the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Jordan have established land corridors, ensuring cargo destined for the apartheid state arrives safely in Israeli hands.
According to Hebrew Channel 13, Israeli-linked cargo ships arrive in the UAE to unload goods. Trucks then transport these goods through UAE and Saudi highways to Jordan. They eventually reach Israel via the Jordan River Crossing.
German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd announced that it was working with Saudi Arabia and the UAE to create a land route “bypassing the Houthis,” which connects ports in the UAE and the Saudi port of Jeddah facilitating cargo movement to Israel through the Suez Canal.
Egypt has also joined the effort, operating container ships from its ports to the Israeli port of Ashdod, further supporting the land bridge initiative and assuring Israeli commerce is not interrupted amid its genocidal campaign in Gaza.
But that is just the start of their complicity.
Take Turkey, for example. Around 40% of Israel’s energy needs are met by an oil pipeline running through Turkey. President Erdoğan could simply shut the flow of oil off to Israel, which would shut down the economy and the military assault in days. But he continues not to do so, despite offering strong condemnation of Israel in words.
Morocco, meanwhile, is building a military intelligence base for Israel near its border with Algeria. The site will be utilized for collaboration for military training, intelligence and security.
Israeli arms manufacturer Elbit Systems also recently announced the establishment of two weapons factories in Morocco, helping to diversify Israel’s weapons production capabilities, as activists in other countries shut the factories down.
In 2021, Morocco also signed the Abraham Accords – a normalization treaty with Israel that Bahrain and the UAE had already agreed to. The Emirates has long been a hub for Israeli intelligence, and it is now well established that the two nations aid each other on intelligence matters.
Moreover, last year, Edge Group, a UAE state-owned corporation, invested $14 million in Israeli drone manufacturer Highlander Aviation. So the Israeli police employ their airspace management system, which was tested by the Israeli Air Force.
The relationship between the UAE and Israel has grown now that Elbit Systems established an entire subsidiary organization – Elbit Systems Emirates – in order to establish what it called “long term cooperation” with the UAE military.
Meanwhile, despite its rhetoric, Saudi Arabia has been quietly collaborating with Israel for some time. The Saudi-backed group Affinity Partners owns a stake in the Israeli company Shlomo Group.
During the conflict in Gaza, the Shlomo Group contributed trucks and military equipment to the Israeli military’s Shaldag and Maglan units, as well as food packages to the IDF.
Saudi Arabia is well-known to be one of the Israeli intelligence industry’s best customers. Saudi security forces have used Israeli tech provided by NSO Group and Cellebrite to spy on people and hack their phones, including for the infamous murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
These states could do so much besides empty rhetoric to help the people of Palestine and blunt the Israeli attack on Gaza, including arms embargoes, sanctions on trade and travel, and halting the military and intelligence collaborations.
The people of the Arab world are dead against the genocide in Gaza and collaborating in it. They have come out in mass across their countries protesting Israel’s war and have even vowed to march through their borders to Gaza to defend their Palestinian brethren.
But it is clear, for these leaders – their actions speak louder than their words.
Mnar Adley is an award-winning journalist and editor and is the founder and director of MintPress News. She is also president and director of the non-profit media organization Behind the Headlines. Adley also co-hosts the MintCast podcast and is a producer and host of the video series Behind The Headlines. Contact Mnar at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter at @mnarmuh.