How Did We End Up Cheering For Israel? In Case Of A US Insistence On Reaching An Agreement With Iran
18 January 2015
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Many have welcomed with cheers the sudden Israeli strike on Sunday that
killed six Hezbollah members and a general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard
Corps who, for some reason, were secretly present in Syria's Quneitra region.
The cheering for this act on social networking platforms is an expression of
anger and indignation, and we've even sensed these feelings expressed by
sympathizers with Islamist groups.
This represents a huge change of feelings about Hezbollah, due to its heinous
actions in targeting its rivals in Lebanon and its involvement in the killing
of thousands in Syria. Many of those who have shifted from admiring Hezbollah
to hating the group did so in less than a decade.
These people used to support Hezbollah in Lebanon in the past and they used
to adopt the Shi'ite group's political and military agenda. Anger began to
surface when Hezbollah's militias occupied west Beirut during the events of
May 7, 2008, three years after the party's involvement in the assassination
of Sunni leader Rafik Hariri.
Hezbollah, and also Iran, have lost the respect and status they've always
enjoyed in the name of Islam, Lebanon and Palestine. Hezbollah's biggest fall
came after its clear sectarian bias in Syria emerged when its members joined
the terrible war there, which has killed more than 250,000 people in what is
surely the most shameful crime in the history of the region. Iranian
involvement in Syria will also have further repercussions.
In my opinion there's no doubt that if a confrontation occurs between Israel
and Hezbollah, or between Israel and Iran, many Arabs will pray for the
defeat of Hezbollah's militias and the generals of its Iranian ally. This
strange feeling, even if temporary, reflects the change in the region's
alliances and political stances.
The hatred held by many Arabs towards Iran and Hezbollah does not necessarily
mean they have suddenly developed affection for Israel—that's another story.
Perhaps this would happen in the event of the brokering of a
Palestinian–Israeli peace accord that garners more popular acceptance than
In case a regional struggle happens, like an Arab struggle with Iran, and
Israel is an apparent party in the Arab camp, people will, I believe, turn a
blind eye to a temporary alliance under the principle of ''my enemy's enemy
is my friend.'' Once again, this does not mean that Israel will be accepted
by Arabs on the popular level—unless there is a peace deal with the
We are in a now in a phase where the map and alliances drawn of after 1948
are in transition, and the struggles and hostilities in the region may be
shifted in a totally different direction. Iran and Hezbollah may be on the
side of the Jewish state if a nuclear agreement is signed with the West that
satisfies Israel, which is now considered an obstacle due to its strict
stance against American concessions to the Iranians.
In case of a US insistence on reaching an agreement with Iran that angers
Israel, the latter could realign itself towards Arab countries to achieve the
necessary regional balance. Israel is currently participating, from a
distance, alongside an alliance that's publicly pressuring the administration
of Barack Obama against offering any concessions in negotiations with Tehran;
however, we can't count on the formation of an Israeli–Gulf alliance because
Israeli disputes with the Arabs of the Gulf regarding Palestine and Syria are
not only serious and numerous, but will also be difficult to overcome.
Al Rashed is the general manager of
Al -Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-
Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a
senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a
US post-graduate degree in mass communications. He has been a guest on many
TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.