My generation in the Arab world grew up with the news of the Palestinian intifadas and how cruel and unfair was Israel, and particularly the U.S. towards the people of Palestine.
News of deaths flowed TV sets and radio stations more than Michael Jackson's songs, and it was still the 1990s! People were in awe and bewildered. They didn’t know better than just hating the Jews and hating America.
Dictatorship in the Arab world and its propagandist media have made it that even Muslim Sub-Saharan and Berbers in North Africa, who are geographically away from the conflict – and ethnically distinct from Arabs, hated already the guts of Israel.
All Arab and Muslim countries had to follow the same foreign policy of a couple of extremist Arab leaders towards the establishment of a free Jewish state. People were doomed to hate the people of Israel. Nobody could escape; the media had already shoved hatred and bigotry into the people’s throats.
It is so unthinkable for the majority of Arabs, now, to accept the establishment of a state of Israel as an independent legal state right in the middle of the Middle East.
It is so strange that Jews could “occupy” Muslim lands that Muslims only conquered some 1,400 years ago, and only belonged to the Jews some 5,000 years ago.
Of course, I can’t say this in public anymore and if I do, I’d have to watch my back for the rest of my life. Yet, strangely enough, Arabs and Jews (as ethnically Jews) still admit to be one family and cousins, though, unlike a real family, they aren’t willing to work their differences out.
Because of the Arab Muslims’ selfishness and stubbornness to say a definite no to any possible compromise with the Israeli people who just want to live in there, people in Palestine were doomed to live under siege, in terror, with no jobs, health care or sometimes drinkable water.
Of course, I do also blame media elsewhere in the world who only talked about an Israel in danger while everybody know the power disequilibrium in the region and, still, there is little mention of babies dying under shelling in Gaza, mothers being killed in fights in Ramallah, families unable to work because they can’t live their town, poverty beyond anyone have seen elsewhere in the Middle East.
Those very families who had suffered because other Arab leaders chose war over peace can’t even leave the West Bank or Gaza to seek better lives in neighboring countries.
They’re confined to their shelled towns or refugee camps. If they do, they’re indoctrinated to hate Israel, Jews and the U.S. by the same people who deny them a citizenship in their country of birth, deny them jobs, or any chance to wish for a better life. Calling somebody a Jew in the Arab world is still word for treason and adversary.
Dictatorship in the Arab lands has made it that Palestinian people suffer because of others’ people selfish decisions. Arabs and Israel fought two major wars over territorial expansion; Arabs lost twice.
Perhaps, it isn’t just artillery and weaponry that made one side crush the other. Arabs certainly outnumbered Israelis in the war of the independence, in 1948, but I think it was just democracy that vanquished dictatorship and still continues to do so.
Of course, Arab (and Persian) leaders scarcely give money to those who need it in the PA or Gaza, or build universities for their children. They supply them with more weapons and convince them to go blow themselves up and terrorize more innocent Israeli citizens on the other side.
70 years ago, Arabs never wanted an independent Palestinian state, nor did they want an Israeli independent state either. Boundaries were and still alien to Arab nationalists -- a movement I oppose because small countries like Tunisia (perhaps the weakest in the region) and Lebanon might seize to exist.
The Kingdom of Jordan and Kingdom of Egypt could’ve granted the PA statehood if the wanted since they controlled until 1967, but they didn’t. Palestinians and Arabs have lost their wars together because of the mistrust, a justified mistrust.
What one could hope best for Palestinians is to achieve democracy first in the regions they control.
Palestine is more in need now of Arab potential to help her build a solid economy and an infrastructure to educate her children to accept the world rather than denying it and live in illusion.
If the statehood of Palestine is so important for Arabs, then they must help invest in those lands and spread the culture of democracy, citizenship and peaceful coexistence.
Unfortunately, even the countries who achieved democracy last year like Tunisia and Egypt aren’t interested to export their experiences. They’re still preoccupied with the leaderships’ armory and not the people’s struggle.
A big question mark still looms in the horizon. Will Palestinian achieve their rights for self-determination? Sadly, the-now Arab Spring, as it unfolds, won’t help much. Hopefully, my generation will.