Pro-Palestine solidarity and capitalist double-speak in the Middle East

Against normalisation

All Middle Eastern governments denounce Israel’s genocidal war against the Palestinian people in Gaza. However, when some countries suggested at the most recent meetings of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in November 2023 that all member states should rupture their economic relations with the Zionist state, this proposal was rejected, with some governments strongly opposed to it. What is the reason for such a gap between the verbal denunciation of Israel’s war crimes and the refusal to translate such words into deeds? The answer is simple: it’s about money.

This becomes evident when we look at figures from a Bank of Israel economic report published in March 2023.[1] According to this report:

Israel’s trade in goods with Middle Eastern countries, long limited, has been growing rapidly in the past two years. Imports from Turkey are surging and so are imports from and via the United Arab Emirates following the Abraham Accords. Israeli exports to these two countries have increased, as have natural gas exports to Egypt and Jordan. Total goods imports from the region’s countries exceed exports to them.

The Bank of Israel provides detailed figures on Israel’s trade with Middle Eastern countries it has official relations with. These countries are Türkiye, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, and Bahrain. (See the Table below)

Growing trade ties

According to the report, imports to Israel have substantially increased. The most important among the Middle Eastern countries is Türkiye. Effectively, Israel’s imports from this country grew by 150% between 2011-15 and 2022, from $2.3 billion to $5.7 billion. Imports from the UAE increased even more dramatically, in particular after the so-called “normalisation” between the two countries in 2020. While Israel imported commodities worth $116 million in 2020, these figures increased by more than 16 times within two years to $1,891 million! Imports from the other mentioned Middle Eastern countries increased also, albeit less spectacularly.

We see the same process when it comes to Israel’s exports to these Middle Eastern countries. Exports to Türkiye grew by 50% between the years 2020 and 2022, from $1.4 billion to $2.3 billion. Exports to the UAE increased by 900% in the same period, from $74 million to $670 million. And exports to Egypt grew from $12 million to $127 million. As a result, the share of Israel’s imports coming from these Middle Eastern countries rose from 3.9% (2011-15) to 7.7%, while their share of Israeli exports rose from 3.7% to 4.4%.

Likewise, the above-mentioned Middle Eastern countries have become popular destinations for Israeli tourists. The Bank of Israel reports:

Israeli tourism to the region’s countries — mainly Turkey, Egypt, and the new destinations of the UAE and Morocco — expanded to more than 1.8 million visits in 2022 and increased relative to 2019 as well. The number of passengers flying to countries in the region (including back to Israel) was 3.9 million in 2022 — about one-fifth of international air travelers through Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Hence, it becomes clear that Israel has become an important economic partner for several Middle Eastern countries — in particular for Türkiye, the UAE and Egypt. If the governments of these states would impose a boycott against Israel, they would lose a lot of money.


Middle Eastern countries could seriously hurt Israel’s economy if they imposed a boycott against the Zionist state. Look what the Houthis in Yemen have achieved with their strikes against Israel-linked cargo ships.[2] According to reports, the Houthis’ actions have resulted in the virtually closure of Israel’s port of Eilat, with its income falling by 80%.[3] If all governments implemented such a consistent policy in solidarity with the Palestinian people, Israel would quickly be brought to its knees.

Türkiye’s Tayyip Recep Erdoğan government plays a particularly shameful role. It (correctly) denounced Israel’s genocidal war and says Hamas is not a “terrorist organisation” but a national liberation movement. However, at the same time, it has the largest trade volume with the Zionist state of any Middle Eastern country. Not only this. Ankara also plays a crucial role in supplying Israel with oil. Azerbaijan contributes 40% of Israel’s annual oil consumption. This fuel is transported through Türkiye. When Hamas damaged Israel’ primary oil dock in Ashkelon on 7 October, Erdoğan allowed an oil tanker to transport 1 million barrels of Azerbaijani crude from Türkiye’s Ceyhan Port to Israel’s Eilat Port.[4]

There is a word for this: double-speak. The ruling class of these Middle East countries have Palestine in their mouth — but money in their heart and in their pocket. This is no surprise since these governments are all capitalist. They serve the financial interests of a small group of domestic and foreign corporations. They are ready to do business with everyone — including with Israel and the Sheitan.

It is the workers and the popular masses that must organise a boycott movement against Israel and corporations that collaborate with this terror and Apartheid state. Only workers and peasant governments that expropriate capitalist corporations and oppose all imperialist Great Powers — in the West as well as in the East — can ensure a consistent policy of solidarity with the Palestinian people. [5]

Michael Pröbsting is a socialist activist and writer. He is the editor of the website where a version of this article first appeared.


Table: Israel’s Goods Trade with Middle Eastern Economies, 2011-22 (in Million US-Dollars in Current Prices)

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[1] Bank of Israel: No Longer an Island Economy? Growing trade and tourism relations between Israel and Middle Eastern countries, 28.03.2023 All figures are from this article if not indicated otherwise.

[2] See by RCIT: “U.S & Allies Send Naval Force to Red Sea to Support Terrorist Israel against Houthis:, 18 December 2023,; “Gaza War: The Houthis and the Looming Imperialist Intervention in the Red Sea”, 14 December 2023, See also by Michael Pröbsting: “Gaza War: The Houthis Have Opened the Second Front. Major international shipping companies stop their operations through the Red Sea after a series of attacks by the Yemeni rebels”, 16 December 2023,; “Yemen’s Houthis Seize Israeli Cargo Ship: A Legitimate Act of Solidarity with the Palestinian Resistance”, 20 November 2023,

[3] Pepe Escobar: “Yemen Ready to Stare Down a New Imperial Coalition”, December 20 2023, See also Michael Pröbsting: “War and Revolution in the Middle East. The transformation of the Zionist War on Gaza into an Israeli-American war against Arab peoples brings the region as well as the world closer to revolutionary explosions”, 1 February 2024,

[4] Turkish Minute: “Israel’s oil imports continue to pass through Turkey despite Erdoğan’s pro-Palestinian rhetoric”, October 30, 2023,

[5] See RCIT documents on the 2023-24 Gaza War at