Thursday, October 11, 2012

Arab World Faces a Few Home Truths

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim is an arab journalist and blogger whose recent article on the arab spring, the failings of the Arab world, and its total mishandling of Israel since 1948, has caused quite a stir. As the article gets widely reprinted (I just discovered it in the London  Times), I pray it sparks a genuine debate in the arab world over its demonization of Israel & Zionism. 

Al-Mulhim asks what the arabs have gained by their refusal to recognise Israel in 1948 and all the subsequent wars they have lost to Israel; He points to Israels incredible success militarily, economically, in research and development and most importantly in social issues and democracy, and asks why they Arab world is not partnered with this success story? He points out that Israeli arabs enjoy all the benefits the Arab Spring fights for elsewhere in the Middle East and he notes that Palestinians under Israeli control have the highest standards of living, freedoms, and life expectancy in the Arab world:
"...even the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip enjoy more political and social rights than some places in the Arab World. "

Al-Mulhim also repeats what is becoming blatantly clear to anyone who watches the Arab media, that as regimes struggle with the "Arab Spring: and fight for their existence, and governments fall or are replaced, the Palestinians (never the arab world's favorite child), are more than ever becoming a low priority, even an embarrassment

Perhaps Al-Mulhim's comments open the door to  a possible solution to the Israeli / Palestinian impasse- a pan-Middle East answer: This would involve the Arab world ending its scapegoating of Israel, and its blind refusal to negotiate with its most successful neighbour or often to even recognise its existence. Instead, the Arab states could make peace, and enter into meaningful discussions with Israel to create a future for the Palestinians. It would almost certainly mean so called Palestinian refugees becoming citizens of the states they have lived & been born in for 3 generations, and perhaps ceding land from Jordan to a future Palestine as well as establishing a multi-international trade agreement (including Israel) for this Palestinian state to allow it the chance to succeed. 

As Al-Mulhim so eloquently points out, the arab world has gained nothing from its pointless wars with Israel, but it has much to gain from peace with them! I pray his views represents a significant, if until now silent  constituency, of arabs and that others will express the common sense and clarity that he has shown.

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