Israeli Arabs can play a role in reviving the stalled peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Although this is an internal Israeli issue between the state and its Arab citizens, -- not an issue in which the West should be involved -- unfortunately, successive Israeli governments have failed to give the Arab citizens a chance to prove that they could make a positive contribution to the peace process.

This has paved the way for radical elements such as the Islamic Movement - Northern Branch to gain power among disgruntled Israeli Arabs. The best way to undermine the radicals is by offering the Arab citizens better services and jobs and giving them a feeling that they are part of the state.

If Israel wants to undermine the radicals, it would do well to embrace and nurture those loyal citizens who are fighting for integration and not separation.

There are many loyal Arab citizens -- and Israel knows who is loyal and who is not -- who could, and who would like to, play a positive role in helping Israel. If Israel does not start working with these loyal citizens, the anti-Israeli radicals will only become stronger -- a situation that would pave the way for the West to meddle in the internal affairs of the state.

What the enemies of Israel most want is any excuse for foreign governments to interfere in Israel's internal affairs.

But Israel alone should not be blamed for ignoring the significant role that its Arab citizens could play.

The leaders of the Arab community in Israel also bear responsibility for widening the gap between Jews and Arabs inside the country. The fiery, anti-Israel rhetoric of some Arab Knesset members has only done huge damage to the interests of the Arab citizens of Israel.

It is because of the actions and words of some of the Arab Knesset members that many Jews today consider Israeli Arabs a "fifth column" and an "enemy from within."

An Arab Knesset members who rushes to participate in a "flotilla" of ships to the Gaza Strip is one of the reasons why many Jews are afraid of their Arab fellow citizens and do not want to even offer them jobs.

The overwhelming majority of Israeli Arabs are still loyal to Israel and see its future in the Jewish state and not anywhere else.

Israel's Arab citizens are fighting for integration into Israel, and not separation. They are demanding equality, especially with regard to employment, allocation of public funds and infrastructure.

Israeli Arabs would like to see a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but most, if not all, do not want to move to that state. They want to stay in Israel for two reasons: first, because they feel comfortable living there despite all the difficulties they face as a minority and, second, because that is where they have always been living and have no other address.

No one could play better role in the many negotiations than the 1.5 million Arab citizens of Israel, who know very well Jews and Arabs alike.

It would also be a good idea, for instance, if Israel sought the help of leaders of the Arab community in reaching a deal that would secure the release of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit in return for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

Using the services of Israeli Arabs in such a sensitive case would be more helpful than relying on a German or Turkish or Egyptian mediator. Why not ask moderate leaders of the Islamic Movement in Israel to travel to the Gaza Strip to talk to Hamas about freeing the Israeli soldier, who has been in captivity for five years?

Why not send Israeli Arab envoys to some of the Arab countries to talk about the prospects for peace in the Middle East? The envoys would undoubtedly do a better job than anyone else because they are familiar with the mentality, culture and politics of the Arab world?

But Israel alone should not be blamed for ignoring the significant role that its Arab citizens could play.

The leaders of the Arab community in Israel also bear responsibility for widening the gap between Jews and Arabs inside the country. The fiery, anti-Israel rhetoric of some Arab Knesset members has only done huge damage to the interests of the Arab citizens of Israel.

It is because of the actions and words of some of the Arab Knesset members that many Jews today consider Israeli Arabs a "fifth column" and an "enemy from within."

An Arab Knesset members who rushes to participate in a "flotilla" of ships to the Gaza Strip is one of the reasons why many Jews are afraid of their Arab fellow citizens and do not want even to offer them jobs.

It is time that the Israeli Arab community realized that many of its representatives in the Knesset are causing huge damage to the interests of Arab citizens. This is something that Arab voters should bear in mind when they head to the ballot boxes in the next general elections in Israel.

Israel's Arab citizens can (and should) act as a bridge between their fellow Jewish citizens and the Palestinians in particular and the Arab world in general.

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