It is time for the Arabs to wake up.
Donald Trump, with his consummate art of provocation, chose December 10, International Human Rights Day, to announce that he recognized Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara. At the same time, it was announced that the Kingdom of Morocco would “normalize” its relations with Israel. Most public reactions to these announcements, from Josep Borrell to Abdelfattah al-Sissi, have been “positive”, welcoming this “good news”. The few criticisms emanating from the Arab world - whether from Hamas in Gaza or from the editorialist Abdelbari Atwan in London - have concerned only Morocco-Israel relations and have not devoted a single word to Western Sahara. The Palestinian Authority in Ramallah preferred to keep a cautious silence.
Arab indifference to Morocco's occupation of Western Sahara is not new: the Arab League, led by the petromonarchies, has always supported Morocco, and Arab opinions have shone in their ignorance of the struggle of a people who adopted the Palestinian flag adding to it the Maghrebian crescent and star and whose fighters have been inspired by Palestinian guerrilla warfare since the early 1970s. The only Palestinian organization to have openly expressed its solidarity with the Sahrawis was the PFLP, whose Secretary-General George Habash visited the refugee camps of Tindouf in 1979, and whose former activist, the Gazan lawyer Mohamed Ahmed Madi, created in 2016 a Palestinian Committee of Solidarity with the Sahrawi people, which was banned from activities by the ruling Hamas, following requests from its sister party, the Moroccan PJD, the Makhzenian version of the Muslim Brotherhood.
In the end, thanks to Trump and his son-in-law Jared Kushner, there is now a good basis for Arabs to wake up and understand that the two causes - Palestinian and Sahrawi - are inextricably linked. It's up to each of them to draw their own conclusions.