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memri
July 18, 2018 No.
7573

Saudi Journalist: We Must Advance Peace With Israel, Even If We Have To Make Concessions

In an article published July 15, 2018 in the Saudi government daily Al-Yawm, Saudi journalist Sukina Meshekhis called on the Arab countries to take bold steps, including certain concessions, in order to advance peace with Israel. She wrote that peace is a supreme human aim for which all peoples yearn, but that in order to achieve it there is a need for concessions and sacrifices. Noting that throughout history there have been many conflicts among various countries, she stated that all of them eventually ended, no matter how terrible they were. The Arabs have missed too many opportunities to make peace with Israel, and this is stopping them from developing and advancing, she said, adding that this is why she is calling on them to leverage the agreements that some Arab countries have signed with Israel – the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords, the Israel-Jordan peace treaty, and the Oslo Accords – into an opening for promoting a comprehensive peace. She added that the collective interest of the Arabs today "requires rapprochement and understandings with Israel," and therefore they must be more pragmatic.

This is not the first article in the Saudi press favoring improved relations with Israel. In several of recent reports, MEMRI has noted the increased number of Saudi intellectuals, journalists, and commentators expressing public support for Israel and even calling for peace and normalization with it.[1]

The following is a translation of the main points of Ms. Meshekhis's article.[2]


Sukina Meshekhis (source: twitter.com/sukinameshekhis)

"Peace is a noble goal, which cannot be attained without making concessions and without [adopting] approaches aimed at defusing hostilities and transforming them into a flexible attitude towards the other. There is no such thing as nations that fought each other throughout history and did not eventually attain security, peace, coexistence and close relations – for that is the logic of reality and of life. To attain [a goal], the sides have no choice but to make concessions and sacrifices that could lead to mutual agreement and to the state of peace for which all peoples yearn.

"History is full of examples of peoples that fought one another but eventually [achieved] a lasting peace, after millions had lost their lives. [This is true of] France and Britain, which we now see living in the greatest [state of] harmony, unity, security, peace and coexistence. They waged the so-called Hundred Years' War [for a century] plus 16 years.[3] In other words, [for] 116 years they were in a state of war, which continued from the 14th century until the 15th century. Later, they fought alongside one another in both World War I and World War II, and were victorious. Therefore, there is no eternal hostility, but there are interests that endure.

"That brings us to the Arab-Israeli conflict, which has been ongoing since the Nakba in 1948. During these [years], Egypt signed the Camp David Accords with Israel, the Palestinian [signed] the Oslo [Accords] with it and the Jordanians the Wadi Araba Treaty. Since the conflict countries [i.e., the countries neighboring Israel] are in a state of peace with it, this opens up many doors that used to be closed [and allows us] to give practical and serious thought to moving into the stage of peace, in a way that will end the conflict. [This can be done if] the other Arabs [take] one courageous step – for peace requires this – just like [the step] taken by [the late Egyptian president Anwar] Sadat in 1978. Time has proved that [Sadat's] positions on [achieving] the unattained peace for the sake of his people and all the Arabs was the most justified position.

"The situation of the Arab [world] cannot forever remain hanging, in hope of peace. The Palestinian signed the Oslo [Accords], and that is the real opening for a decisive peace with Israel. Under the Arab Peace Initiative, presented by the late king 'Abdallah bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz at the [2002 Arab] summit in Beirut, we can advance towards peace while [making] a few pragmatic concessions, and thereby end the current entanglement and impasse, which may lead to [further] entanglements involving all of the Arabs. Many Arabs do not want [these entanglements], but rather want peace and an end to the conflict.

"His Highness [Saudi Crown] Prince Muhammad bin Salman bin 'Abd Al-'Aziz said [in an April 5, 2018  interview with the American Time magazine] that Saudi Arabia does not make decisions on behalf of the Palestinians, but will support whatever they agree on. [He said]: 'Whatever you think is good for you, we will support it'. [The tendency to] miss opportunities is what has brought us to the present state of uncertainty regarding peace. We never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity, and therefore we remained in square one, while time kept marching on, along with many political and economic interests [we failed to realize]. Israel too continues to develop and to prosper on the political, economic, scientific and military planes more than all the Arabs put together. So which [side] has a greater need for peace? It is we Arabs who need peace, since it is the way to develop and to end the infringement of our rights by eliminating the fear of war...

"Peace, rather than war, is our fundamental problem, and therefore our collective interest requires rapprochement and understandings with Israel. We must not remain hostage to the rhetoric of hostility and unhelpful conflict. Out of respect for our historic and future rights, and for all the victims [who fell] for the sake of the [Palestinian] cause, it behooves us to be more pragmatic in our perception of peace and to end the many losses that wind up in the abyss of oblivion..."