Sunday, August 05, 2007

Gulf News: "Is Israel worthy of peace?"

More about that eternally-extended Arab olive branch:
Since 1991 the Arab world has been fixated on a peaceful Israel. For years, Arabs have been desperately waiting for Israel to give a nod of approval on accepting to live in peace with them.

Once again today, Arabs are attempting to convince an historic enemy - Israel - of how serious they are about a peace agreement. Is it not reasonably valid to ask why should a futile mission still be chased?

For the past 16 years, peace accords were born only to become incapacitated later. Every single Arab stride towards peace was met by a tactful Israeli evasion of a commitment. First tiptoed the Madrid conference in 1991, only to end up inconclusively.

The Oslo Accords of 1993 trailed afterwards, which was sealed off with indecisiveness. The better half followed two years later with Oslo II, also failing to offer absolute solutions. By 1998 the Wye River Memorandum managed to create indefinite obstacles.

And finally the 2003 Quartet's so much full of hope and promises Roadmap for Middle East Peace had dissolved into oblivion and without much fanfare.
And this is all just assumed to be A) evidence of peaceful Arab yearnings and B) Israel's fault.
Peace between Arabs and Israel remains confined to the realms of illusion. This being regardless of the fact that Arabs, under the forcefulness of history and the influence of geography, have come to terms with the dynamics of the times and the constraints brought about by the century's realpolitik.

Arabs have bitterly consented to the legitimacy of an illegitimate state when the Arab Peace Initiative was the offer on the table in 2002. Yet Israel has consistently rejected any lasting - let alone just and comprehensive - peace deal as it exists as a state that is at war with its Arab neighbours - yesterday, today and perhaps even tomorrow.

But Arab governments seem to turn a blind eye to Israel's belligerence. And hence the Arab peace initiative after being initially launched six years ago was adamantly re-launched in the coming years.

Persistently, time and again and with absolute conviction, Arab governments falsely hoped that Israel would respond with a similar gesture.

Enough damage has been perpetrated. It is time to stop revitalising any and all peace initiatives. A state of no war is as damaging as a state of no peace. But if Arab governments are so keen on pleasing Israel with a peace bargain that is tailored to its accord, then the verdict should be left with the Arab people.

The so many Arab governments that have championed appeals for transparency for so long should follow the spirit of their calls by permitting all the Arab people the chance to vocally and publicly decide: is Israel worthy of living with in peace?
And what if they vote no?

Crossposted on Soccer Dad

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