The US Administration is in the final stages of preparing a new initiative that would, according to recent reports in the media, require Arabs and Muslims to embark on a process of normalization with Israel once the government of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu freezes construction in West Bank settlements.
However, even if Netanyahu were to announce tomorrow morning that he is suspending all construction in the settlements, it is highly unlikely that the Arab and Islamic countries would rush to normalize relations with Israel.
Many Arab and Islamic countries have already made it crystal-clear that even if Israel would stop the construction, they would not take such a step.
In Cairo, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry stated that freezing settlement construction does not mean that the Arabs would offer Israel full normalization.
The Arab and Muslim leaders are using the settlement construction as an excuse to avoid normalization with Israel. The truth is that these dictators are afraid to go against the tide because they know that their constituents would revolt against them if they normalized ties with Israel.
Even the only two Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel, Jordan and Egypt, have said that they still are not ready for normalization with the Jewish state.
Ironically, it is the Egyptians and the Jordanians, along with the Palestinians [whose representatives signed the Oslo Accords with Israel], have long been spearheading the anti-normalization camp in the Arab world. All are vehemently opposed to any form of normalization with Israel and continue to work toward isolating Israel in the international arena.
Moreover, the Egyptians, Jordanians and Palestinians allow “anti-Israel normalization committees” to launch fierce campaigns against any Arab who dares to define the ban on opening up to Israel.
Just last week, a group of Jordanian journalists, who committed the crime of visiting Jerusalem, came under strong criticism from their colleagues.
The Jordanian Committee for Anti-Normalization called for expelling the journalists from the Jordan Press Association, while others dubbed them traitors and collaborators.
Professional Associations representing more than 150,000 Jordanians joined the attack on the journalists’ visit, calling it a type of normalization with Israel.
The Western-backed Palestinian Authority has also been active in combating all forms of normalization with Israel. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki last week warned all Arabs and Muslims against accepting a US offer to normalize relations with Israel.
"We should not give a blank check from the current Israeli governments. Some of the Arab states consider steps towards ties normalization with Israel in exchange for only promises," Maliki said.
He added that normalization could be made only when Israel withdraws from all and Palestinian territories and recognizes a Palestinian state.
The main reason why the Arab governments are opposed to normalization with Israel is because they know that their constituents are not prepared for such a move.
If the issue of settlement construction were the real problem, the Palestinians, Jordanians and Egyptians would not have made peace with Israel: This is because when their leaders signed the peace treaties, Israel was building in the settlements.
Some heads of states and monarchs may be in favor of normalization with Israel, even if the only purpose of appeasing the US Administration. Others don’t want normalization not only with Israel, but with the outside world because they don’t want their constituents to be exposed to democracies and different cultures.
In any case, it’s evident that Arab and Muslim public opinion remains violently opposed to such a “gesture.”
The real problem lies in the fact in the Arab and Islamic worlds there are still too many people who have not come to terms with Israel’s existence in this part of the world. They continue to consider Israel an alien body or a caner that needs to be removed for once and for all.
And that’s basically why there still isn’t peace in the Middle East.