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December 13, 2021 Special Dispatch No. 9680

Saudi Writer: War With Israel Not An Option; Palestinians Must Renew Negotiations Under Arab, Gulf Aegis

December 13, 2021
Saudi Arabia, Palestine | Special Dispatch No. 9680

In an article in the daily 'Okaz, Saudi writer 'Abd Al-'Aziz Munif Bin Razen called for the renewal of the negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel under the aegis of Arab and Gulf countries, based on the 2002 Arab peace initiative. He argued that a policy of hostility or disregard towards Israel will not yield a solution to the conflict but will only serve the interests of manipulative elements such as Iran. The region cannot withstand another war, he added, especially given the Covid pandemic and the economic crisis that attends it. Therefore, the need for peace has become more urgent and vital than ever, he concluded.


'Abd Al-'Aziz Munif Bin Razen (Source: adwaalwatan.com)

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1]

"For several decades, the Palestinian issue, or the Arab-Israeli conflict, as those who trade in it like to call it, has remained without a definite victory for either side. The ones who benefit the most from trading [in the Palestinian cause] are the ones who have manipulated it and interfered in it without any justification, except for their [desire] to pose as the policemen of the region – although in practice they have been more like paper tigers.

"The clashes between the Palestinians and the Israelis [over the years] have resulted in nothing but bloodshed on both sides and a psychological barrier that each generation inherits from the last. That is why no [Palestinian] state has been established, no refugees have returned [to their homes] and international law has remained unimplemented. What has happened is the creation of hostility for its own sake.

"This hostility and this psychological barrier do not characterize only the Palestinians and Israelis. They exist throughout the Middle East, including in Arab countries that do not share a border with Israel. The hostility [to Israel] grew out of the sense of solidarity with the Palestinian people, and is based on Arabism and blood [ties].

"However, [at some point] several Arab countries came to the conclusion that the policy of hostility and boycott was useless, and that ignoring the enemy is a defeat in itself. For this reason, some countries in the Gulf and elsewhere began building bridges of peace with Tel Aviv, not out of submission or obedience, but out of recognition and appreciation of the other, so as to break the psychological barrier and address the Palestinian issue in a more balanced manner, far from high-flown slogans and while safeguarding the Saudi initiative, called the 2002 Arab peace initiative… [an initiative] that Saudi Arabia still regards as a basis for peace with Israel.

"To resolve the Palestinian issue there is no need for armed conflicts or deadly wars, nor for rounds of negotiations that [only] lead to an explosion. All that is needed is ongoing dialogue and a desire on both sides to reach a genuine, just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East – with neither side insisting on appearing as the victor who has achieved everything [he wanted].

"The Palestinian mentality preserves principles that are now obsolete… [such as the notion] that war is the only option, although the Arabs have lost four large-scale wars with Israel. I am sure that, if this approach changes, [the Palestinians] will achieve completely different results. For what has this approach achieved until now?

"The region cannot withstand another war… especially considering the economic crisis prevailing in many countries due to the spread of Covid 19, which means that dealing with this virus is [everyone's] primary concern. Consequently, the need for peace has become more urgent and vital than ever.

"The problem the Palestinians fail to realize is that creating a vacuum vis-à-vis the Israelis [only] caused other non-Arab countries, which are uninterested in the complicated Arab issues, to ride the wave, as the Persians [i.e., Iran] are doing with the aim of reaching Jerusalem through several Arab countries… That is one of the most deceptive approaches, which has caused the Palestinian issue and the dialogue between the Arabs and Israel to lose its way. 

"Ultimately, the way to resolve this prolonged conflict, which has been going on for generations and which killed [many] in the previous generations, is to immediately launch negotiations under the aegis of the Arabs and the Gulf."

 

[1] 'Okaz (Saudi Arabia), November 10, 2021.

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