Palestine Revisited

(Al-Ahram-Egypt) Hassan Nafaa - In the official Arab discourse, the Palestine cause is still the "Arab's first cause" and the "crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict." Today, however, such talk seems to have lost credibility at both the official and grassroots levels. Egypt since 1979 and Jordan since 1994 are bound by peace treaties that oblige them to normalize relations with Israel, regardless of Israel's position on the Palestinian cause. Moreover, in 1993, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) itself signed the Oslo Accords, committing it to security cooperation with Israel. In addition, some Arab governments today openly hold that Israel is no longer a major threat to the security of Arab states and peoples. They promote the idea of cooperating with it beneath the guise of the need to fight terrorism or, alternatively, the need to counter the Iranian expansionist project in the region. At the grassroots level, the Palestinian cause has fallen to the bottom of the list of Arab priorities now that the region is infested with the plagues of extremism, sectarian strife and civil wars with no end in sight. Shia Arabs are at war with Sunni Arabs. The Kurds in Arab countries are at war with Arab citizens, whether Sunni or Shia. Most Muslims in the region, whether Arab or non-Arab, are at war with non-Muslims. Even the Palestinians are so divided that one camp accuses the other of serving as an Israeli tool designed to bury the Palestinian cause. Until the Palestinians unite and all factions agree on a new and unified strategy for managing the conflict with Israel, there can never be a real opportunity for a political settlement. The writer is professor of political science at Cairo University.

2016-06-20 00:00:00

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