The indefatigable Tom Gross flagged my attention to this column in Saudi Arabia’s English-language newspaper, the Arab News:
On the anniversary of the 1973 War between the Arab and the Israelis, many people in the Arab world are beginning to ask many questions about the past, present and the future with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The questions now are: What was the real cost of these wars to the Arab world and its people. And the harder question that no Arab national wants to ask is: What was the real cost for not recognizing Israel in 1948 and why didn’t the Arab states spend their assets on education, health care and the infrastructures instead of wars? But, the hardest question that no Arab national wants to hear is whether Israel is the real enemy of the Arab world and the Arab people…
The piece continues:
I decided to write this article after I saw photos and reports about a starving child in Yemen, a burned ancient Aleppo souk in Syria, the under developed Sinai in Egypt, car bombs in Iraq and the destroyed buildings in Libya.
The column provides a much-needed reality check, and a glimmer of hope that decades of incitement and eradicationist rhetoric might eventually wear thin. It reminded me of Salemeh Nematt’s November 25, 2004 column in the pan-Arabic daily Al-Hayat when he observed with considerable boldness: ”It is outrageous and amazing that the first free and general elections in the history of the Arab nation are to take place in January: in Iraq, under the auspices of American occupation, and in Palestine, under the auspices of the Israeli occupation,” before asking what that said about U.S. and Israeli intentions, and what it revealed about Arab political culture.
Perhaps it would behoove some in the political class in Washington to recognize what those in the Middle East are beginning to see: The fault is not always Israel’s.