Palestine-Israel Conflict: Where does Central Asia stand?

By Ammar Younas

Iran and Saudi proxies had dominated the region over the last decade. Even Palestinians were complaining that their Muslim brothers, especially Middle Eastern are forgetting about Palestinian cause. War in Iraq has ended with the defeat of ISIS and Saudi-Iran proxy in Yemen is not getting that much media attention. We haven’t heard anything from the Saudi Crown Prince and his crackdown on corruption during last week. US congress had passed The Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995 for the purposes of the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Why Trump administration suddenly came up with this idea of relocation of embassy? It will clear when the dust will settle. Trumps decision of moving the embassy to Jerusalem has revitalized the Palestinian issue. Once again Muslims from all over the world are demonstrating their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Islam is the dominant religion in Central Asia and existed in the region since the begging of Islam itself. The status of Jerusalem is one of the sensitive issues for whole Muslims world including Central Asia. This issue was highlighted in early 90s when Soviet Union collapsed, and 5 independent Central Asian states emerged. Muslim preachers from all over the world especially from South Asia and Turkey started coming to Central Asia for preaching Islam and used different analogies to explain the phenomenon of Muslim unification. One of the widely used examples was Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  By now, majority of the Muslim population in Central Asia is familiar with the Israel-Palestinian conflict only to this extent that Israelis are Jews and Palestinians are Muslim. I think no one mentioned in Central Asian media about this fact that the Palestinians want Eastern Jerusalem to be recognized as the capital of the Palestine. Majority is of the Muslims from Central Asia want complete abolition of Jewish State. People in Central Asia are unaware of the recent advancement in Israel-Palestine conflict and mostly rely on sentiments when it comes to political debate. Central Asian people are suffering from knowledge gap on Israel- Palestine issue because of the reason that there is complete black out of journalistic information coming from Israeli side.

The official position of approximately all the Central Asian states is that they recognize the right of self-determination of Palestinian people and are in favor of an independent Palestinian state coexisting with the Israel. All 5 of Central Asian states voted for the UN General Assembly’s resolution 67/19 upgrading Palestine to non-member observer state status in the United Nations. Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan have Palestinian embassies and 5 of CA countries demand Israel to respect the boarders of Palestine before 1967 war.

I think that Trump recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel will play in the favor of Palestinians in Central Asia. A huge number of social media users have been observed posting about Palestinian cause and against the Trump’s decision. This decision has given a chance to the Central Asian youth to reinvestigate the Palestine cause from a Central Asian prospective and learn more about its political, social and historical dimensions. At the same time, the decision made by Trump most likely is not tactically beneficial for the Trump administration. As it will lose its grip on Middle East. Even the closest allies of US will not be able to back the Trump’s decision. Whereas Iran will not miss this chance to name and shame the US. This is an ideal situation for Central Asia to strengthen its relations by rallying round the flag with other Muslims countries.

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Ammar Younas

Ammar Younas is an ANSO scholar at School of Humanities, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. He is based at Institute of Automation, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He studied Chinese Law as Chinese Government Scholar at Tsinghua University School of Law in Beijing, China. Ammar also holds degrees in Medicine, Jurisprudence, Finance, Political Marketing, International and Comparative Politics and Human Rights from Kyrgyzstan, Italy, and Lebanon. His research interests include but not limited to Societal Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Regulation of AI & Emerging Technologies, and Central Asian Law.

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