Fred Maroun
A believer in peace and human dignity

If Arab leaders were wise: a fairy tale

Gregg Carlstrom, formerly with Al Jazeera, wrote in Newsweek:

The Palestinian national movement has been largely defeated.

Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi, pro-Palestinian academics (Khalidi is also a former Palestinian negotiator), wrote in The New Yorker:

The contemporary Palestinian national movement—founded and led by Yasser Arafat and embodied by the P.A., Fatah, and the P.L.O. over the past half century—is reaching its end. […] The historic Palestinian national movement may have shattered and its successor may be neither discernible nor imminent.

If Arab leaders were wise, they would recognize that Palestinian nationalism is dead and that its artificially preserved corpse is a hindrance to peace and progress.

If Arab leaders were wise and interested in leading their peoples to happiness and success, they would recognize that Israel represents a great opportunity to the Middle East, and they would do everything to take advantage of it.

They would immediately recognize all of Israel, from Jericho to Tel Aviv, from Qiryat Shemona to Gaza, as the state of the Jewish people.

They would offer stateless Palestinians citizenship in Arab countries in exchange for Israel providing Palestinians who reside in Israel the right to permanent residence.

They would offer to help Israel fight Palestinian terrorism, and they would support the deportation of terrorists.

They would negotiate a free trade agreement with Israel, and they would encourage Arab business leaders to engage in joint ventures with Israeli businesses.

They would show the world that the Middle East is rich, not only in natural resources, but also in human resources, and that it is capable of building prosperity through community.

But Arab leaders are not wise. If they were wise, they never would have started the Israel-Arab conflict. If they were wise, they would not be leading their peoples to kill each other over tribalism and religion. If they were wise, the Middle East would be very different today.

Therefore after reading this nice fairy tale, we should wake up and remember that no solution can rely on Arab leaders acting rationally or intelligently.

Despite its advanced stage of morbidity, Palestinian nationalism will continue to exist and so will terrorism. This is the reality that Israel must live with, and both the far-right and the far-left would benefit from recognizing it.

About the Author
Fred Maroun is a Canadian of Arab origin who lived in Lebanon until 1984, including during 10 years of civil war. Fred supports Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and he supports the Palestinians' right to self-determination in their own state. Fred supports a liberal and democratic Middle East where all religions and nationalities, including Palestinians, can co-exist in peace with each other and with Israel, and where human rights are respected. Fred is an atheist, a social liberal, and an advocate of equal rights for LGBT people everywhere.
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