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A nation must think before it acts.
Senior delegates from twenty-one Arab countries have convened in the Saudi city of Dhahran for the twenty-ninth annual summit of the Arab League. The ongoing standoff between Qatar and most of its Gulf neighbors has been tabled, enabling Qatari representatives to cross their sealed border into the kingdom and Gulf Twitterers to express their hopes for a new unity. (The ruler of the country, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has nonetheless declined to attend.) Alas, “unity” in Arab League politics has traditionally proved little more than the false unity of militarism: Corrupt autocrats, on behalf of fractured societies, came together to rally against Israel. This year’s summit, by outward appearances, looks true to form: Even as states fail and tens of millions suffer from internecine conflict from Libya to Syria to Yemen, the Palestinian issue has been designated as the summit’s top agenda item. There are hopes, to be sure, that just underneath the pro forma fixation on Israel will lie actual substance—such as a new pact to push back on Iran’s Arab proxies, and perhaps even a new push for a negotiated settlement to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.