Fatigue in the Arab World with the Palestine Issue – Amir Taheri
Prominent Arab writer Walid Abimerchid, in his latest newspaper column, described a ”growing fatigue with the whole Palestine issue.” For the first time in decades, Palestine has been shut out of the news in favor of Syria, ISIS, sectarian wars and the growing aggressiveness of Iran.
As Jordanian businessman Abu Furas noted: ”Today, no Arab feels safe in his country. Ironically, the sole exceptions are Palestinians in the West Bank because they know Israel will defend them if ISIS attacks. Even in Gaza, most people secretly believe that Israel is their ultimate protection against ISIS fighters trying to strike roots in the Sinai.”
Eyad Abuchaqra, a prominent Lebanese commentator and TV personality, citing reasons for dwindling interest in the Palestinian issue, says, ”Arabs realize that there are many other issues that affect their lives, indeed their existence.” (New York Post)
The Arab World’s Anti-Israel Front Is Crumbling – Moshe Arens
Hostility to Israel has been the one unifying factor in the Arab and Muslim world. Israel’s existence was endangered in 1948, 1967, and 1973 by the combined attacks of Arab armies, which enjoyed the support of the entire Muslim world.
But there is a change in the wind. For some Arab rulers greater enemies than Israel have appeared in recent years. Iran, reaching out for nuclear weapons, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, Hamas, and assorted Arab terrorist groups, are aiming for the jugular of the ruling classes in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt. They are a mortal danger to them, the kind of danger that Israel never constituted. In the eyes of these Arab rulers Israel is beginning to look not like an enemy, but rather like a potential ally.
The Saudi ruling class is likely to be the first in line to be toppled as Iranian influence grows. As armed Islamic State terrorist gangs are knocking on Jordan’s door, it is not hard to guess whose head is going to be severed first if they succeed in reaching Amman. Egypt is beset by Islamic terrorists in Sinai and in the streets of Cairo, where ruler Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has declared all-out war against them. Israel has enemies in the Middle East, but it is also gaining friends. The writer served as Israel’s Minister of Defense three times and once as Minister of Foreign Affairs. (Ha’aretz)
Why Palestinians Cannot Make Peace with Israel – Khaled Abu Toameh
Palestinians will not sign a real and meaningful peace agreement with Israel in the foreseeable future because of a total lack of education for peace, as well as the absence of a leader who is authorized to embark on such a mission. Americans and Europeans who keep talking about the need to revive the stalled peace process in the Middle East continue to ignore these two factors.
Indeed, the Palestinian leadership has long been inciting its people against Israel to a point where it has become almost impossible to talk about any form of compromise with the Israelis. If you want to make peace with Israel, you do not tell your people that the Western Wall has no religious significance to Jews and is, in fact, holy Muslim property. You cannot make peace with Israel if you continue to deny Jewish history or links to the land. Any Palestinian who dares to talk about concessions to Israel is quickly denounced as a traitor. (Gatestone Institute)
Israeli Arabs: The Untold Story – Robert Cherry
Affirmative action policies for Israeli Arabs initiated under Ehud Olmert were accelerated during the Netanyahu administration. These included allocating funds for joint industrial parks in Arab and Jewish towns, subsidies that helped firms hire Arab labor, and expanded transportation infrastructure which allowed Arabs to reach employment sites.
In addition, the Israeli government developed a five-year plan for improving Arab education and established a special unit in the prime minister’s office to promote economic development in the Arab community. Despite the opposition of Palestinian nationalists, more and more Arab communities began to cooperate with government agencies. At the same time, educational and occupational initiatives began to improve the possibilities for Arab women. Labor participation rates for women 30-39 increased from 24% in 2005 to 34% in 2010.
These transformations also occurred in east Jerusalem, with investments in infrastructure and transportation, the building of schools, and a dramatic expansion of medical facilities. Today the health quality indices for east Jerusalem are the same as for west Jerusalem.
Between 2005 and 2011, inflation-adjusted Arab net family income increased by 7.4%. The number of Arabs employed in government civil service rose from 2,800 in 2003 to 5,000 in 2011 – an increase of 78%, in comparison to a 12% increase in the number of Jewish workers during the same period. The share of Israeli Arabs who were ”very satisfied” with their economic conditions rose from 40% in 2004-5 to 60% in 2010-11. The writer is a professor of economics at Brooklyn College and CUNY Graduate Center. (Mida)