I only got to know Abdulateef a few days ago. And honestly, as one who prides myself to be on top of everything related to the Palestinian/Arab – Israeli conflict, shame on me. Abdulateef’s articles have been around for a few years and he’s one of the few voices of reason in the Arab world, one that is not insulated within a bubble of ignorance and hatred.
I would imagine that the same way I came across his article by chance, there might be others who have not heard of him, so I want to share his name and thoughts with the readers, so that you too, can enjoy his writings and spread the word about him.
The article that prompted me to contact and initiate a dialogue with him, was “May 15:Nakba or Defeat?” published May 14th at Arab News, a Saudi internet news outlet. Abdulateef is a retired Commodore in the Royal Saudi Navy and a journalist. After I exchanged a couple of emails with him, he directed me to additional articles of his, published in outlets including Jerusalem Post and Haaretz.
Among other things, I wrote him that one of my biggest frustrations when it comes to the Palestinian/Arab – Israeli conflict, is that when I attend debates between Palestinian scholars or politicians and their Israeli counterparts, while the Israelis do a lot of “mea culpa” and talk about Israel’s faults in the process, the Palestinians invariably fail to make one single admission that some of the blame also falls on the Palestinian side. I see several Israeli/Jewish groups pushing Israel toward making concessions (the Israeli/American group Peace Now often publishes full-page ads in the New York Times) but I never see the equivalent from Palestinian/Arab groups. That is why when someone like Adbulateef Al-Mulhim has the courage to express his thoughts through articles like the one above or “The Arab Spring and the Israeli Enemy” and “What if Arabs had recognized Israel in 1948” we should make sure that his reach extends to a broader audience in the Arab world, including the Palestinians, and the mainstream media as well.
Perhaps a dialogue towards a broad agreement between the Arab world, Palestinians and Israel should start with individuals like Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, since he has the courage that leaders are lacking.
Following are just a couple of his points: “What if those Palestinians had accepted the mandate and decided to live side by side with the Israelis…. would the fate of the Palestinians be the same?” and “if Israel were recognized in 1948, the Palestinians would have been able to free themselves from the hollow promises of Arab dictators.”
Leadership requires courage and bold steps. One of the first bold steps is to recognize our own wrongdoings. Abdulateef has shown the courage that the Arab/Palestinian leaders are lacking.