I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy — but that could change.

Friday, February 29, 2008

What do Arabs want?

The sixty years anniversary of Israel’s Declaration of Independence is upon us. The Middle East quagmire continues to puzzle analysts, politicians and the media. After millions of tons of newsprint, hundreds of tons of ink, a dozen wars, billions in military expenditures and tens of thousands of dead on both sides, the world is still struggling with the eternal question: What do Arabs want?

As luck would have it, Al Jazeera’s political analyst Hassan Ibrahim explains it better than others. Amongst the almost universal and vitriolic hatred towards Jews routinely expressed by Arab news media, this is a very calm, composed and well thought out article. Because it comes from a source that is considered to be Arab mainstream, it is also very revealing.

What it demonstrates is a complete and utter rejection of the Jewish narrative, Jewish history and Jewish rights in Israel that flies in the face of any Arab peaceful initiatives or proposals.

It is a painful repetition of the plight of native Americans we ignorantly refer to as 'red Indians'. [I am weak in American history, so help me out here: did Spaniards and Europeans have a five thousand years history living on American soil, building great cities, fighting great wars?]

The Israelis, who have become the new masters of the land, are Jewish immigrants that began populating Palestine in the early years of the last century. [Note that the Jews lived on the land for three thousand years before the very word Palestine was first used by the Romans to refer to Israel and Judea.]

The Jews born in Palestine are called Sabra, while the rest migrated in successive waves under the British mandate which lasted from 1918 to 1948. [The Jews must have just landed from the moon. Just as they teach the Arabs in their schools, Mosques and Madrassas.]

And no country has had greater influence with the US electorate than Israel. The Jewish lobby in the US has influenced Americans with political aspirations to formulate the solid belief that their political successes are directly linked to winning the "fidelity to Israel" seal-of-approval from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC. [Nothing like a healthy dose of good old fashioned anti-Semitism to make a point here. It is very instructive that the Arab mind cannot conceive that there maybe another reason for American sympathies for Israel apart from a wicked Jewish plot. Is that too much for an Arab to even consider that democracy, freedom, separation of powers, free elections, free press and open society may have something to do with the commonality between Israel and America?]

Even with Arab countries producing more than 40 per cent of the global supply of petroleum, the US has never treated the Arab countries en par with the way it treats Israel. [To an Arab, it must be incomprehensible that even as America depends on Arab oil and trade, the America would have the audacity to still defend Israel’s right to exist. After all, the Europeans have long seen the light and in unison with the Arab world is wishing Israel away… ]

Despite many attempts by so-called moderate Arab governments with ties to Tel Aviv to gently introduce Israel to their masses, Arabs overwhelmingly hate the Jewish state. [Not to mention the Jews. And I suppose that six hundred years of anti-Semitic preaching has nothing to do with it whatsoever.]

It is simply an existential rejection of the Zionist entity as a whole. [One has to admire the straight talk. So, we might as well take all the Arab peace initiatives and shove them where the sun does not shine. The author will clearly fight to the last Palestinian to throw the Jews into the sea. ]

It has become tradition to consider rejection of Israel as an integral part of what it means to be an Arab. That rejection of Israel is equalled by a "fidelity to Palestine" - not a part of Palestine or a fraction of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip interspersed by the wall built by Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli prime minister, but the whole of Palestine.

And that’s what the clueless Israeli, American and European leaders simply cannot grasp. This absolute and utter rejection of Israel and the Jews even by the most “reasonable” Arab voices. This is why there are only two people who understood how the Middle East conflict will unfold: Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Natan Sharansky.

Until most of the twenty-two Arab countries can be dragged kicking and screaming into the present from the fourteenth century they presently inhabit, there will be no peace. Roadmap is a convenient pretext to be seen doing something for some and a vehicle for dismantling Israel piecemeal for others. Like it or not. Anyone who tells you otherwise living a dream.

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I am a cantankerous man living and working in the Silicon Valley where reading books is an abomination that is virtually unheard of, frowned upon and may be detrimental to one's career. I avoid censure by never conceding that I ever read or owned a book in my life. If anyone accidentally glimpses my scant proficiency in any subject matter, I immediately accredit it to having glanced at DrudgeReport that day.

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