From Nasser’s championing of the Palestinian cause to Sadat’s willful neglect of Palestinian interests and, lastly, Sisi’s all-but-declared support for an Israeli war that devastated an already destitute Gaza, the arc of Egyptian-Palestinian relations has been remarkable. It signals the ascendency of American hegemony in the region, underscores the failure of the Palestinian leadership to solidify Arab ranks behind its nationalist struggle, and might now foreshadow anxious Gulf regimes striking their own separate deals with Israel in an anti-Iranian regional bloc. Syria’s civil war and the recent nuclear agreement between Iran and today’s great powers have upended the calculations of regional actors and lowered Palestine even further on the agenda of Arab states.
As part of our October Special Focus Egypt and the Palestinians, we have made available articles from our Journal of Palestine Studies archives retracing the history of Egypt’s relations with Israel and the Palestinians. While future “developments cannot be easily foreseen,” knowing the history offers us the chance to cultivate a more intelligent sense of the future and where the stateless Palestinians might figure in the calculus of the region’s Arab states.