Where Are the Moderate Arabs and Palestinians?
Has anyone ever heard of an Arab or Palestinian "Peace Now" group? Palestinians have been radicalized to a point where it is virtually impossible to talk about peace and coexistence. Peace activists, human rights advocates, moderates, journalists and reformers have almost no say and are often denounced as "traitors" and a "fifth column."
In Israel, there are dozens of organizations and parties that openly advocate peace with the Palestinians and the Arab world.
Some even go as far as calling on the Israeli government to comply with 100% of the Palestinians' demands by fully withdrawing to the pre-1967 lines.
Many of these organizations and parties have also been active in launching protests against Israel's actions in the Palestinian territories, especially the construction of the security barrier and new houses in settlements.
Israeli human rights groups and other organizations are usually the first to condemn the Israel Defense Forces or the government when something with the Palestinians goes wrong. Some Israelis have decided to expand their protest by participating in Palestinian street demonstrations against the Israeli Defense Forces in the West Bank or the Police in east Jerusalem.
The Israeli media is also full of articles -- by Jewish writers -- who are extremely critical of the Israeli establishment and who openly back Palestinian demands for statehood and independence. Hence it is no surprise that Palestinian media newspapers devote entire pages to publish translated [pro-Palestinian] articles and news stories that originally appeared in the Israeli media.
Some Israeli politicians, especially Arab Knesset members, have used the parliamentary podium to advance and defend the causes of Palestinians. Israeli policies and actions are condemned in the Knesset more than they are denounced in the Palestinian or any Arab parliament. The Palestinian parliament, incidentally, has been paralyzed since 2007 because of the dispute between Hamas and Fatah.
In most parliaments throughout the Arab world, representatives do not enjoy the same freedom of speech as their counterparts in Israel. Members of parliament in the Arab world can not stand up and openly demand peace with Israel. When was the last time an Arab parliament or prominent politician or columnist called for peace and compromise with Israel?
Can anyone in the Palestinian territories or the Arab world form a party that advocates peace, coexistence and harmony with Israel? On the contrary, the only voices that are being heard among Palestinians and other Arabs are those who seek to boycott and delegitimize Israel.
Any Palestinian or Arab who dares to talk to Israelis or visit Israel is accused of being a traitor for promoting "normalization" with the "Zionist enemy."
In Israel, hundreds of thousands of people once took to the streets to protest against the Israeli war in Lebanon and the killing of innocent civilians in refugee camps. The mass protest resulted in the resignation of then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon.
During the last war in the Gaza Strip, more protests took place inside Israel than inside most Arab capitals or in the West Bank -- where the Palestinians worked hard to suppress protests.
In Israel, there is a large movement called Peace Now that effectively endorses most of the Palestinians' demands. Has anyone ever heard of a Palestinian or Arab "Peace Now" group?
Over the past two decades, Israeli Jews have been marching toward pragmatism and moderation. A majority now supports the two-state solution and, according to public opinion polls, is even willing to make compromises on settlements and Jerusalem, By contrast, the Palestinians seem to be marching backward.
The Palestinians have been radicalized to a point where it is almost impossible to talk about peace and coexistence with Israel. For Palestinians, the true heroes are suicide bombers who blew themselves up in cafes and buses, killing innocent civilians. Peace activists, human rights advocates, moderates, journalists and reformers have almost no say and are often denounced as "traitors" and a "fifth column."
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|Holocaust survivor [13 words]||Bill Rooz||Apr 30, 2013 16:51|
|Brilliant article [134 words]||Frumious Falafel||Jun 10, 2012 09:45|
|Because the World Rewards Arab Intransigency [55 words]||Lori Lowenthal Marcus||Jun 4, 2012 08:25|
|Thank you, Mr. Toameh. [97 words]||Matt Brown||Jun 4, 2012 06:29|
Comment on this item
by Khaled Abu Toameh
The "Arab Spring" did not erupt as a result of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Rather, it was the outcome of decades of tyranny and corruption in the Arab world. The Tunisians, Egyptians, Libyans and Yemenis who removed their dictators from power did not do so because of the lack of a "two-state solution." This is the last thing they had in mind.
The thousands of Muslims who are volunteering to join the Islamic State [IS] are not doing so because they are frustrated with the lack of progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
The only solution the Islamic State believes in is a Sunni Islamic Caliphate where the surviving non-Muslims who are not massacred would be subject to sharia law.
What Kerry perhaps does not know is that the Islamic State is not interested in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at all. Unlike Kerry, Sunni scholars fully understand that the Islamic State has more to do with Islam and terrorism than with any other conflict.
by Steven J. Rosen
Palestinian officials have generally been silent about security cooperation with Israel. They are loath to acknowledge how important it is for the survival of the Palestinian Authority [PA], and fear that critics, especially Hamas, will consider it "collaboration with the enemy."
"You smuggle weapons, explosives and cash to the West Bank, not for the fight with Israel, but for a coup against the Palestinian Authority. The Israeli intelligence chief visited me two weeks ago and told me about the [Hamas] group they arrested that was planning for a coup... We have a national unity government and you are thinking about a coup against me." — Mahmoud Abbas, PA President, to Khaled Mashaal, Hamas leader.
According to Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, if the IDF leaves the West Bank, Hamas will take over, and other terrorists groups such as the Islamic Jihad, Al-Qaeda and Islamic State would operate there.
In recent months, Abbas has been making a series of threats against Israel. If Abbas becomes another Arafat, it could be the Israeli side that loses interest in security cooperation.
by Burak Bekdil
It was the Islamists who, since they came to power in the 2000s, have reaped the biggest political gains from the "Palestine-fetish."
But the Turkish rhetoric on "solidarity" with our Palestinian brothers often seems askew to how solidarity should be.
by Raheel Raza
One blogger writes that Malala hates Pakistan's military. I believe it is the other way around.
I would so like to see the day when Malala is welcomed back in Pakistan, with the whole country cheering.
by Francesco Sisci
Democratic evolution in China was being seriously considered. The failures of U.S. support for democracy in Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt and Libya gave new food for thought to those opposed to democracy. Lastly, the United States did not strongly oppose the anti-democratic coup d'état that overthrew a democratically elected government in Thailand.
On the other hand, Russia -- dominated by Vladimir Putin, a new autocrat determined to stifle democracy in Russia -- provided a new model.
The whole of Eastern Europe and most of Latin America, formerly in the clutches of dictatorships, are now efficient democracies. This seems to indicate that while democracy cannot be parachuted into a country, there is a broader, longer-term global trend toward democracy and that its growth depends on local conditions.
As economic development needed careful planning, political reforms need even greater planning. The question remains: is China preparing for these political reforms?