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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

The 'Palestinians' are alone - and the sooner they get it the better

You may recall that about a week ago, I ran the results of an online poll from al-Arabiya that claimed that 71% of the Arab population no longer follows the conflict between Israel and the 'Palestinians.'

You may also recall that the pan-Arabic daily al-Sharq al-Awswat was horrified at the poll.
“This is an alarming indicator,” lamented Saleh Qallab, a columnist for the pan-Arab newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat. “The Arabs, people and regimes alike, have always been as interested in the peace process, its developments and particulars, as they were committed to the Palestinian cause itself.”
But Efraim Karsh argues that al-Sharq's view is a lie, and that the sooner the 'Palestinians' recognize it as such, and realize that they are alone, the sooner it will be possible to find peace in our region.
But the truth is that Arab policies since the mid-1930s suggest otherwise. While the “Palestine question” has long been central to inter-Arab politics, Arab states have shown far less concern for the well-being of the Palestinians than for their own interests.

For example, it was common knowledge that the May 1948 pan-Arab invasion of the nascent state of Israel was more a scramble for Palestinian territory than a fight for Palestinian national rights. As the first secretary-general of the Arab League, Abdel Rahman Azzam, once admitted to a British reporter, the goal of King Abdullah of Transjordan “was to swallow up the central hill regions of Palestine, with access to the Mediterranean at Gaza. The Egyptians would get the Negev. Galilee would go to Syria, except that the coastal part as far as Acre would be added to the Lebanon.”

From 1948 to 1967, when Egypt and Jordan ruled the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the Arab states failed to put these populations on the road to statehood. They also showed little interest in protecting their human rights or even in improving their quality of life — which is part of the reason why 120,000 West Bank Palestinians moved to the East Bank of the Jordan River and about 300,000 others emigrated abroad. “We couldn’t care less if all the refugees die,” an Egyptian diplomat once remarked. “There are enough Arabs around.”

Not surprisingly, the Arab states have never hesitated to sacrifice Palestinians on a grand scale whenever it suited their needs.


Against this backdrop, it is a positive sign that so many Arabs have apparently grown so apathetic about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. For if the Arab regimes’ self-serving interventionism has denied Palestinians the right to determine their own fate, then the best, indeed only, hope of peace between Arabs and Israelis lies in rejecting the spurious link between this particular issue and other regional and global problems.

The sooner the Palestinians recognize that their cause is theirs alone, the sooner they are likely to make peace with the existence of the State of Israel and to understand the need for a negotiated settlement.
If the 'Palestinians' understand how they have been used and are being used by the Arab rulers, the 'right of return' will fall away, and it may even be possible to reach a compromise on borders.

But don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen. The 'Palestinians' never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.


At 1:24 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Without state propaganda Arabs will not come to a solution that is contrary to their own benefit. the war in Israel hurts the financial situation of the average Arab who the oil powers that be do not share revenue with. with so much of the West watching the Arab Jewish conflict it is a lot harder for Arab leaders to push propaganda directly to the masses... thought they certainly have tried. From what I can see it is the Shi'a who are active in the realm of caring these days.

At 2:10 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Ironically enough, the last true believers in Pan-Arabism despite all the abuse the Arabs have heaped on them are the Palestinians!

Until they shake themselves free of the delusion the Arabs are there to protect them when in reality the truth is the reverse, they will never feel secure enough to make peace with Israel.

Don't look for that to happen any time soon.


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