It’s bad enough when your enemies don’t want you around. But what do you do when your “friends” feel the same way?
From the time Israel became a secular state (1948) the Arab world has wished it gone. Four wars were waged against Israel for that purpose. I have no doubt that the Arab world would still like Israel gone just as much.
But, over time, reality sets in and people realize they don’t get everything they want, and they deal with things as they are. They accommodate themselves to situations and, sometimes, find out that it’s not the end of the world; it works out pretty well.
But not Palestinian Arabs.
For decades, what passes for leadership of the Palestinian Arabs who live in Gaza and Judea/Samaria (also known as The West Bank) has rejected every peace offer of every kind that has been made by every source. Even as other parts of the Arab world have made peace with Israel.
Egypt did so in 1979. The two countries have been at peace with each other since then.
Jordan did so in 1979. The two countries have been at peace with each other since then.
Now, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain have just formally made peace and established full diplomatic normalization with Israel. Given the precedents set with Egypt and Jordan (neither of which share borders with Israel as Egypt and Jordan do) there is no reason to believe this will not result in lasting peace as well.
What was the Palestinian Arab leadership’s reaction to these peace deals? It demanded that the Arab League condemn them. The Arab League, which represents all 22 primarily Arab states, rejected this demand.
Did the Arab league side with Israel? In a technical sense, yes it did. But I am sure it was far more that the league saw it as signing with a generic concept of peace in that region, even if doing so meant acceptance of a state the league would like to see gone. Either way, the result was that Palestinian Arabs were told “no”.
So where does that leave Palestinian Arab leadership?
Nowhere, that’s where.
Please note that I distinguish between Palestinian Arab leadership and Palestinian Arab people. No one knows for sure how the masses of Palestinian Arabs feel about Israel; what they say to each other in their homes, or quietly among friends.
No one knows how many of these people would like nothing better than to accept some kind of peace deal and live their lives without the insanity and hatred that has predominated all these years. But if I were betting, my bet would be that a great many of them feel exactly that way.
Maybe it’s time to find out. Maybe it’s time for an uprising, an outcry in Gaza and Judea/Samaria in favor of doing what Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain….and, almost certainly other Arab countries in the very near future….are doing.
Maybe it’s time to take the chance, risk the repercussions, and make that clear to the “leadership”. Make it clear that the money being spent on arms and bombs would be better used for infrastructure and social enrichment; to better the lives of people there.
I hope so.