Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Arab Initiative Needs International Support | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The Arab Initiative is on the table anew; it is a source of controversy and the subject of intense debate, amid talk about requests that some of its provisions should be “amended.” These requests are made by the Israelis and Americans, but they have been met with a clear Arab rejection.

The fact is that the initiative puts forward a general and overall thesis for an unprecedented idea of peace, covering all the controversial aspects and points of the issue. Nonetheless, Israel has been intransigent and has rejected the initiative idea, and it is very difficult to imagine that the latter would be accepted by any Israeli Government headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, and with Lieberman as foreign minister, who have both frankly rejected any withdrawal from any occupied territory, the return of any refugee, and recognition of a Palestinian state, in addition to other very extremist statements they have made concerning the Arabs in general. But it seems that at the international level, Israel is embarrassed and facing moral pressure, specifically after its criminal war against the population of the Gaza Strip, and the massacres it has perpetrated there.

Clearly and as usual, Israel is going to try to reshuffle its negotiating cards; it is posing new conditions as a basis for a dialogue, namely, that Iran should stop its nuclear program.

What have Iran and its program got to do with handing back usurped territories, releasing innocent prisoners, and implementing international resolutions? But then this is the Israeli tyranny to which people have become accustomed.

There is no doubt that, today, Israel is not what it used to be; today it is no longer capable of producing outstanding and distinguished leaders such as Abba Eban, Rabin, and others; all Israel can do today is to bring the likes of Netanyahu and Lieberman, and this alone proves to the Arabs that their cause is more credible and more acceptable than all the excuses and pretexts of Israel and its government.

The fight now has moved from the battlefield, and has strongly become a rather public relations one, and the Arabs should change the means and instruments of the combat with Israel and its government. The Israeli Government is harming itself, and its abuses and the disasters it is causing need only to be documented and continuously made public through new means, not the traditional ones. But all this cannot practically be done amid Palestinian division and increasing Palestinian negative attitudes. This phenomenon has begun to spread among the Palestinians in the diaspora, whose laisser-faire attitude has become a serious problem that needs to be studied and seriously revised; because non-Palestinians cannot be more sympathetic and more supportive to the Palestinian cause than the Palestinians themselves.

On paper, the Arab initiative is convincing and strong, and it covers all controversial points, but, clearly, it needs to be beefed up by international popular support, with a propagation of factual information on the Palestinian cause in particular, and the Arab one in general. So far and on this front, the Arabs have failed terribly. The Arab historic, powerful, and overall initiative needs completely different moves. In fact, this is required by any powerful, cohesive, and just cause like the Arab cause. So, the Arab Initiative, which is on the table, will be brought to fruition only with the help of a sweeping international momentum.