Tuesday, August 07, 2007

"channeling efforts that should have gone into development into a near obsession with Palestine"

A fairly thoughtful Daily Star opinion piece by Mona Eltahawy:
[...] Egypt has been at peace with Israel for 28 years. For the past 25 years, we have had the same president, who has never visited Israel - just the tip of the iceberg known as the "cold peace" between the two countries, which Egyptian officials usually blame on negative public opinion of Israel's occupation of Palestinian land.

We have subsumed so much into the Palestinian cause, channeling efforts that should have gone into development into a near obsession with Palestine, for little apparent good. Egypt boasts that it can talk to both the Israelis and the Palestinians, but even that has done little for its influence in halting intra-Palestinian fighting in Gaza . . .

My generation, sadly, might be lost to defeat and humiliation. If so, the best gift we can offer those coming behind us is clear advice: Don't walk in our footsteps, and know that the best way you can help Palestinians is to help your own countries.

The Arab leaders of the 1967 era are gone, replaced in Jordan and Syria by their sons; preparations for a similar handover are under way in Egypt. The Palestinians are led by the dangerously impotent combination of a weak president and an exiled prime minister who is a religious zealot.

And still there is no Palestine.

Why has time stood still for the Arab world? The Syrian town of Quneitra is exactly as it was when it was destroyed after the 1967 war with Israel, untouched so that we never forget. Yet how many German cities, almost leveled during World War II, have been rebuilt and are thriving again?

The 1967 war was one of the many conflicts with Israel that bookend our ages. Looking around the Arab world today, we must ask: What were they all for? It's time to move on.

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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