January 9, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 7836

Saudi Journalist Presents A Suggestion To Relinquish The Belligerent Discourse Against Israel, Form A Confederation Of West Bank, Gaza And Golan

January 9, 2019
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 7836

In an article in the Saudi government daily 'Okaz, journalist and legal expert Osama Yamani recounted a conversation he had with a friend, who criticized the Arabs and Palestinians for repeating the same "loathsome and impractical" discourse about Israel for decades while trying to destroy it and refusing to recognize the fact that it exists and is a powerful state. This approach, the friend said, has led to nothing but destruction for the Arabs, the loss of land and the failure of the Palestinian cause. He proposed to establish a confederation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan as a solution for the Palestinian problem and as a model of a strong and viable entity that can flourish.

It should be noted that the column was published several days after Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu visited Oman, and after an Israeli sports delegation participated in a championship in Abu Dhabi, accompanied by Israeli Sports Minister Miri Regev, while another sports delegation took part in a tournament in Qatar – visits that sparked a lively debate in the Arab world for and against the normalization of relations with Israel.[1]

The following are excerpts from Yamani's column:[2]

Osama Yamani (image: 'Okaz, Saudi Arabia)

"A friend said to me: 'Why don’t the Arabs [adopt] a new way of thinking instead of the one they constantly repeat in such a loathsome and impractical manner?...  We fight Israel and try to eliminate it, when it is an existing fact, a tangible entity with international relations and friendly ties with most of the world's countries. We strive to eliminate a country that has power and the ability to defeat anyone who attacks it or threatens its existence...

"'Why do the Arabs turn Israel into a [trump] card for Iran and its tools and militias, and for Hamas and all those who trade in the [Palestinian] issue which is no longer Palestinian at all, [but] has become a desirable and profitable commodity for all those who trade in it[?] The [Arab] homeland pays the price of this issue on the international and local levels: In the Gaza Strip Hamas grants no human rights [to the citizens], and in the West Bank there is no progress and conditions are constantly deteriorating. All this is in the name of steadfastness and confronting [Israel], which have yielded only disappointment and division...

"'What have the Palestinians and Arabs gained from all the theories and views they presented in [the past] 50 years? We only reached the point where we lost the land, and lost what we used to call the state of Palestine and started talking [instead] about the diaspora, the [Gaza] Strip and the [West] Bank, whose people disagree and fight each other ruthlessly. Some have traded in the blood of others or in the soil we once called the soil of Palestine...

"'Why do we not learn from these mistakes? Why do we repeat them? Why do we duplicate the positions that have caused us nothing but destruction and the loss of land? None of the wars we participated in managed to gain us any territory. Even the glorious war of October [1973] did not manage to restore the stolen territories. The late [Egyptian president Anwar] Sadat rejected the baseless slogans and restored Sinai to his country through negotiations, instead of with slogans, bluster, heroics and songs of glory… We not only fail to learn from our achievements, we do not let the successful lead us to success. Sadly, we are intimidated by those who brandish bombastic slogans and by the ideologists and allow them to force their perception and vision upon the future.'

"At this point... I asked my friend: 'How do you think the [Palestinian] issue can be solved?' He smiled and said: 'You still think there is an issue? The [Palestinian] issue vanished with the emergence of two states [apparently the Palestinian entities in the West Bank and Gaza] and a diaspora that mostly does not wish to return. Besides, why don't the Arabs suggest to form a confederation that includes the Golan, the [West] Bank and the [Gaza] Strip, which will constitute a unique human model that strives for integration  instead of all-out war and strives to build instead of destroy, a [confederation] that will replace the greater Israel which Israel's neighbors will [eventually] be forced to except... This would be a viable entity capable of flourishing...'"


[2] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), November 2, 2018.


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