Why are the Arab Gulf countries silent on Gaza?

Saudi Arabia’s king, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, with the US president, Barack Obama. ‘The US-Gulf relationship should also come under pressure as a result of the former’s financial and military support for Israel. Oil exports should not be off the bargaining table.’ Photograph: Mido Ahmed/AFP/Getty Images

Instead of aiming their diplomatic guns at each other, the Gulf states must use their influence to shore up support for Gaza

After hopes of a lasting truce fade again today, the intense pressure on Gaza continues. We are used to hearing voices across the world raised against the conflict. But, perhaps surprisingly, the Gulf has scarcely reared its head to protest.

Gulf thinking towards Gaza is mixed up. Upon joining the ruler of Dubai’s central government office in 2007, its Palestinian head of strategy told me to steer clear of Palestinian politics. “For Sheikh Mohammed, policy comes before politics. We don’t put the cart before the horse. We must get our house in order and then we can change things.”

Her attitude, however, contrasted with the material help being provided. “Palestinians have received more humanitarian aid [in the form of budget support] from the United Arab Emirates than from any other nation. The UAE has always stood by us,” the Palestinian Authority’s man in charge of reconstruction told me in 2010.

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