World, Middle East

Arab states ‘unconcerned’ with Palestine: Ex-Tunisia FM

Palestine is ‘not a priority’ for some Arab countries, leading Nahda member tells Anadolu Agency

18.05.2018
Arab states ‘unconcerned’ with Palestine: Ex-Tunisia FM Rafik Abdessalem, former foreign minister, member of Tunisia’s Nahda

Turkey

By Suheyb Kalalive

ISTANBUL

Some Arab countries appear “unconcerned” with the Palestinian cause and want to distance themselves from it, Rafik Abdessalem, a former foreign minister and a leading member of Tunisia’s Nahda movement, said Thursday.

Abdessalem told Anadolu Agency that Israel was an “occupying power”, stressing that Nahda had always shared the same views with the Arab world on the Palestine issue.

Describing the recent relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as "unjust", he pointed out that his movement had taken a strong stance against the move.

Abdessalem also voiced his appreciation for Turkey’s position on the many challenges facing the Muslim world, especially in terms of the Palestinian cause.

Turkey, he said, had a growing economy and was increasing its investments in Tunisia and other North African countries.

Unfortunately, however, Abdessalem said, “some Arab countries” -- which he declined to identify -- “appear unconcerned with the issue of Palestine”.

He went on to assert that Tunisia’s 2011 revolution had paved the way for “free and transparent” democratic elections.

“Islamic-leaning and secular parties have not had any ideological conflicts since 2014, when the new constitution was adopted,” he said.

Abdessalem also described former President Habib Bourguiba's marginalization of the military from Tunisian politics as a “great achievement”.

"Political life in many Arab countries remains under military control,” he said. “Mistakes by religious parties and interference by the Zionist project have put Egypt in this situation.”

He added: “Attempts to sabotage the Arab revolutions have devastated Yemen, Egypt, Libya and Syria”.

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