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Arab Options

by Tom Carew

The comments from anti-American and anti-Israel British journalist Robert Fisk in his new book are once again the same very rosy view of the Arab side, but with a purely negative version of the role of the West and Israel. It is really all our fault, and we just have to leave.

If you list the long number of opportunities either rejected, or ignored, by the Arabs, over nearly 90 years, then things look rather different.

I can think of some 25 such occasions, as follows:

a. After WWI, Feisal, later King of Iraq, proposed to the Jewish leader, Weizman, a mutual partnership in developing a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Other Arabs lacked Feisal's foresight and generosity, and that great and historic option was lost.

b. In 1920, Arabs started the first major anti-Jewish riots in Palestine.

c. In 1929, Arabs massacred 69 Jews in Hebron.

d. From 1936 to 1939, the "Arab Revolt" was led by Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. who was also involved in the earlier violence.

e. In 1941, the Mufti, and Iraqi politician Rashid Ali, led a pro-Nazi coup in Iraq, in which Saddam's uncle was also involved. It failed and both Husseini and Rashid fled to Berlin. At the same time, 30,000 Jews from Palestine, like about 500,000 each from the USSR and USA, fought against the Nazi threat.

f. Hosted in Berlin by Hitler, the Mufti recruited Muslim SS Divisions in both Bosnia and Albania/Kosovo.

g. From 1945, both Egypt and Syria used Nazi fugitives in security/military/scientific roles. And Husseini, wanted by Yugoslavia for his Nazi role, escaped from custody in France, and was a guest in Cairo.

h. In 1947, the Arabs, unlike the Jewish Agency, [a] boycotted the May 1947 11-strong UN Committee, which eventually voted 8-3 to recommend partition, and [b] then rejected the UN General Assembly resolution of 29 Nov 1947 for Palestine to be shared by both Arab and Jewish states, a vote backed by France, the USSR, USA, Liberia, etc. Armed irregulars, both Palestinian and other Arabs, immediately commenced attacks on Jewish communities.

i. In May, 1948, the Arab States responded to the creation of the UN-mandated Jewish State of Israel with a 5-power attack by regular armies, from Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan, together with armed Palestinians, and armed Arab volunteers, including Moslem Brotherhood elements. The Cairo-born and Cairo-educated engineering student, Arafat, at 19, fought as a Lt. in the Egyptian Army on the Sinai front.

j. The Arabs called on the Arab Palestinians to evacuate Palestine, and so allow a "free-fire zone" for the 5 invading forces. This, together with the impact of fighting, and some Israeli attacks, such as at Deir Yassin village near Jerusalem, led to a major displacment of Palestinians, whose total numbers equalled the Jews who fled from the Arab world, mostly to Israel.

k. The Arab refugees have been left in camps by the Arab Governments since 1949, and were never integrated, unlike the similar number of Jewish refugees from the Arab world, who were fully integrated into Israeli society. Neither did the Arabs move to any peace treaty with Israel, to addreess this, or any other issue.

l. From 1950, the Arab strategy involved cross-border attacks by "Fedayeen" irregulars, aided by the Arab states.

m. On 20 July, 1951, King Abdullah of Jordan was assassinated in Jerusalem due to his flexible approach to dealing with Israel. The 10 conspirators were in touch with the Mufti, whose cousin was their leader.

n. In 1956, the Egyptian blockade of the international waterway, the Suez Canal, to Israeli shipping, led to the Israeli/Anglo/French military operation.

o. In 1967, the Egyptian blockade of the only Israeli outlet to the Red Sea, together with their massing of forces facing Israel in the Sinai, led to the "6-day War".

p. The Arab Khartoum Summit in Autumn, 1967 decided on their notorious Triple Negative — No to Peace, No to Recognition, and No to Negotiation.

q. From 1970, the Arabs engaged in a cross-border "War of Attrition" against Israel.

r. In Sept, 1970, the PLO armed threat to Jordan led to confrontation with the Jordanian Government and Army, and the expulsion of the PLO to Lebanon. From there, the PLO launched the terrorist massacre at the Munich 1972 Olympics, and, as did other Palestinian gangs, many aircraft hijackings.

s. From 1975 to 1990, Lebanon was devastated by an inter-Arab Civil War. including Palestinian elements.

t. In 1981, Muslim Brotherhood elements assassinated Egyptian President Anwar Sadat due to his moderate approach to Israel. The same element also murdered the Egyptian PM, Mahmoud Nokrashy, in 1948, and attempted to murder his successor as PM, Ibrahim Abdel Hadi, but instead killed Supreme Court Judge Moustashar Ahmad El-Kazendari. They twice attempted to kill President Gamal Abdel Nasser — in 1954 and 1965.

u. 1982, Palestinian Arab cross-border attacks against Israel led to the invasion of Lebanon.

v. In 1987 the Palestinian Arabs launched their First Intifada, which ran to 1993.

w. In Sept, 2000, the Palestinians launched their Second ["Temple Mount"] Intifada.

x. In December, 2000, Arafat rejected the proposals from President Bill Clinton [actually originating with Israeli Labour PM Lt.-Gen. Ehud Barak] that the Palestinians have "custodianship" around the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, together with their capital in Arab East Jerusalem, and sovereignty over both the Christaian and Muslim districts in Jerusalem.

y. Since the Israeli evacuation of all of Gaza, and part of the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority has failed to enforce its writ, either over these additional terrritories, or over its existing areas, and still permits various private armed elements not only to retain, but to carry and use their weapons, as they wish.
With such a unique record of "own-goals", the Palestinians today need friends who will apply "tough love", and realism, not followers — like Robert Fisk — who will only echo their perpetual sense of victim-hood and grievance. It is pointless to try to help those who continually refuse to help themselves.

I am happy to debate or discuss these points at any time.

Tom Carew,
Ranelagh,
Dublin, 6,
Ireland.

e-mail: tmcarew@yahoo.com

Our special thanks to the author for submitting this article. A. G. S.