Tariq A. Al-Maeena
If the Israeli government was harboring the notion that the Arab World was warming up to them and willing to accept them as partners with the existing status quo, then they better go back to their cabinet for a rethink. In spite of what covert dealings the Israelis may conduct with some Arab figures, or the rare favorable opinion pieces they may read by ignorant Arab commentators, reality on the ground is that they are not trusted or liked in the Arab world which refuses to accept them, given their atrocities in occupied Palestinian lands.
This was aptly demonstrated in a reality TV show that is broadcast during Iftar time and beamed across the Arab world. The plot goes as follows: A TV actor disguised as a salesman at a clothing stall is busy showing the latest line of clothing to unsuspecting customers. He then offers an alternative which he claims is cheaper and better. It is Israeli made!
Customer after customer in cities across Arab countries walk away, some stunned, others angry and yet others in total rejection of his offer. Some admonish him for having the gall to offer such a vile suggestion in the face of existing Israeli policies. Not just in one city in one country, but in many. And in just about every instance, they walked away without a backward glance leaving the salesman actor looking bemused.
Israel should be made aware that the masses among the Arab world do not view them as ‘friends’ nor like them for that matter irrespective of what signals they think they’ve been getting. Members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), a band of thugs in uniform have been systematically targeting and killing innocent Palestinians, and more specifically women and children in recent years and sanctioned and protected by the state of Israel. This is state sanctioned terrorism. This is not something I’m spewing out at the top of my head. There are scores of documented incidents by independent witnesses to the effect.
Israelis have been burning, bulldozing and razing Palestinian homes and rendering their occupants homeless and helpless. Today, apartheid and Israel are being mentioned in the same breath. They defy every UN sanction directed at them brazenly, and the world watches. They evict lawful owners and tenants off their property and turn them into illegal settlements for European and American Zionist imports. They have built walls on illegal property and parceled off huge portions of what is Palestine towards their own personal ‘Zionist Dream.’ And they have been doing this unchallenged for decades.
Between the unprovoked partition of Palestine in 1947 until Jan. 1, 1949, Zionist militant forces employing terrorist means destroyed or depopulated 531 Palestinian towns and villages, driving two-thirds of the indigenous population into exile. Many Palestinians fled for their lives in the wake of terror gangs of Zionist invaders, leaving behind all their earthly possessions. The unlucky ones never made it past their front doors as Zionist militants would strike in the middle of the night and slaughter all the occupants inside.
As I write, hundreds of Palestinian children languish in Israeli prisons some as young as seven years old. The Apartheid Wall continues to snake its way through Palestinian territory, annexing ever more land and prohibiting Palestinians’ freedom of movement. The siege on Gaza will soon render that area uninhabitable and more than 50 discriminatory laws in Israel deprive Palestinian citizens of Israel of their rights. Israeli occupation policies are choking Palestinians. Such actions do not augur well for gaining warmth or respect. And they expect the Arab world to be friendly and accepting?
Settlers from other lands brought to Israel have been targeting helpless Palestinian civilians and in particular, the old or the very young, with impunity. They shoot at them, they harass them and rob and steal their property in broad daylight without any censure from the authorities. Such acts do not warrant us cozying up to them in any form.
If the Israelis genuinely want to be treated as partners and not adversaries, they should begin by recognizing the rights of Palestinians to their own lands and adopt the terms offered in the Arab Peace Plan proposed back in 2002 by the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. Only then will the Arab world begin to believe that the Israelis genuinely want peace.
But until that time, Israel should not expect us to be their friends or even have the slightest notion that we are warming up to them in any form. In their current form, they are an anathema in our midst.
— The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him
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