Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Arabs Never Miss an Opportunity to Miss.......

The Arab League has a tendency to take one step back before it takes two steps forward, aping the exiguous indecisiveness of Yasser Arafat, who Bill Clinton and his Israeli counterpart Barak discovered was hopelessly addicted to process, and faltered when it came to actually doing a final step. Here's why following the Middle East is fun:

...the 22-member Arab League decided on July 8 to send a delegation to Israel for discussions about peace prospects. Israelis could hardly contain their excitement. For decades the Arab League stood at the forefront of efforts to deny Israeli's right to exist. Starting in 1945, even before Israel's founding, the League ordered a boycott of goods produced by "Zionists," and later extended that boycott to any company, anywhere in the world, doing business with Israel. (The boycott, incidentally, still stands, although it has sprung many leaks.) On the day Israel was founded, the League coordinated an attack by several Arab armies designed to destroy the newborn state in its cradle.

So, when the League voted to send a delegation, Israelis found the move significant; a welcome sign of Arab acceptance. The Arab League, however, bristled at any suggestion that the decision to send the delegation -- made up of representatives from Jordan and Egypt, the two Arab countries that have relations with Israel -- meant very much at all.

We know what happened to Sadat and to King Abdullah of Jordan's grandfather when they compromised with Israel. But check the link and see how perhaps
...nearly six decades of rejecting Israel's right to exist have left a hard-to-erase imprint in the Arab public. Arab leaders, and now Muslim clerics, hammered the belief so hard into the minds of their people that it may have moved all the way into their DNA.

A recent Pew Survey of the Middle East came up with this result:
The disheartening response shows that a huge proportion of the Arab world is still not ready to accept Israel's survival. In Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Territories, for example, only 18, 17, and 16 percent of respondents, respectively, believe that Palestinian rights can be attained as long as Israel exists. In Israel, whose leaders have already accepted the creation of a Palestinian state, 61 percent of the people said the two sides can have their needs and rights met simultaneously. In every Arab country surveyed only small minorities agreed.

Anyone who has to some extent mastered Arabic and lived for a while in the Middle East knows that rhetoric and the "word" mean more than mere action and completion of complex processes. The story may be apocryphal, but Nasser's generals were reportedly celebrating their impending victory the night before June 6, 1967 when the Israelis made a preventive strike on their air force.

There is some hope in the very act of the Arab League agreeing to come to Israel to talk. They are accustomed to their own statist controlled media outlets, so they balk at the wide publicity the uncontrolled Israeli media will give the visit. So the very first step, to look at the Arab proposals agreed at Taif in 2002, should get priority over the shape or size of the table and the credentials of the visiting delegation.

Hopefully, this could be a step in the right direction in a region where wandering in the wilderness is the rule, not the exception.

1 comment :

Mark E. said...

Nice post about Saddam and terrorism at Dan Riehl's site. I write about that topic only at if you are ever interested in stopping by. My comments section is down but will be up again soon if you ever want to weigh in on stuff.