The British presence was not an extension of its colonialism in Iraq and the Levant north of the Arabian Peninsula. In fact, it preceded it, and came through the Indian Ocean from the south.
Maoz Fine, who studies coral reefs, was especially agog about the prospects of peace and better ties between his country and states along the Red Sea shores. When the first fruits of peace arrived, however, Fine and an ad hoc coalition of sundry Israelis found it unpalatable. A deal to bring oil from the UAE to Israel and then to Asia and Europe left many up in arms.
The UAE wanted loyal citizens above all to preserve its political model; that primary lesson filtered down to the education system, even if it wasn’t written in the curriculum itself, in the ways that some rules were enforced and others were not, why some people were deported and others worked for decades in the same school.
Arabs are of course not of a single mind on any particular issue, nor is it possible to gauge public opinion under tyrannical regimes. But it is indicative of the fact that these authoritarians no longer see the pan-Arab Palestinian cause and supporting it as vital to their survival.
The first armed conflict of the Arab Spring is now a playground of intervening foreign powers out for themselves. It won’t be the last.