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June 27, 2014 11:47 am

The Arab Street is Boiling

avatar by Yoram Ettinger


More than 700,000 protesters gather in Al-Assy Square in Hama, Syria on July 22, 2001. Photo: Syriana2011.

According to the Saudi Arabia-based newspaper Arab News: “The Arab Spring is not about seeking democracy, it is about Arabs killing Arabs [and] about hate and sectarian violence. … The Arab Spring is an accumulation of years of political corruption, human rights violations, sectarianism and poor education systems. It showed that the Arabs were never united and are now divided beyond anybody’s imagination. We hate each other more than we hate the outside enemy. Syrians are hurting Syrians and the Israelis are the ones who treat the Syrian wounds [in an Israeli field hospital built on the Golan Heights].”

Connecting the dots of the increasingly boiling Arab street highlights the 1,400-year reality of intense intra-Arab violent intolerance, hate education, transient (one-bullet) regimes, tenuous policies, non-compliance with intra-Arab agreements, which are usually signed on ice and not carved in stone, explosive unpredictability, lack of intra-Arab peaceful coexistence and a savage violation of civil liberties.

In 14 centuries, the Arab street has never experienced freedom of religion, speech, press, assembly or movement, which constitutes a prerequisite for free elections and peaceful coexistence. The Arab world is swept by domestic, regional, national and intra-Arab terrorism, systematically and intentionally targeting civilians by way of car bombs, bullets, missiles and chemical warfare. Ethnic cleansing has engulfed Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Tunisia and Libya, underscoring the lack of national cohesion on the Arab street and the merciless intra-Arab/Muslim fragmentation along ethnic, tribal, cultural, geographic, ideological and religious lines. The national cohesion of the three most powerful Arab countries throughout the 20th century — Egypt, Iraq and Syria — has collapsed, threatening Iraq and Syria with chaotic disintegration. The fate of minorities in Arab countries reveals the devastating Arab/Muslim attitude towards the “infidel” Christian, Jews or Buddhist.

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Connecting the dots of the increasingly turbulent Arab world has intensified anxiety and panic among the inherently unstable pro-U.S. regimes of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Bahrain. These regimes are aware that deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Libya’s late dictator Moammar Gadhafi, Tunisia’s ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh (possibly joined by Syrian President Bashar Assad) were perceived to be as stable as the Rock of Gibraltar, but were overthrown summarily and brutally by fanatic Islamic terrorists.

They are cognizant of the clear, present and lethal threat posed by Iran and Iran’s adversary, ISIS (“Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant”), which intends to sweep Jordan, Kuwait and the rest of the Gulf. They are concerned about the lava erupting from the endemic civil war in the intractably fragmented Yemen, which controls the route used by oil tankers from the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean.

Connecting the dots of the increasingly turbulent Arab street emphasizes the mutually inclusive nature of the Arab streets. The December 2010 Tunisian upheaval fueled the February 2011 Libyan and Egyptian eruptions, which fed the February 2011 turmoil in Yemen and Bahrain, and provided tailwind to the March 2011 civil war in Syria. It intensified terrorism and disintegration in Iraq, thus posing an imminent deadly threat to the Hashemite regime in Jordan, which could be transformed into another heaven for Islamic terrorism on Israel’s longest, and most vulnerable, border.

Connecting the dots of the increasingly turbulent Arab street accentuates Israel’s unique role as the U.S.’s only stable, reliable, effective, democratic and unconditional ally, whose posture of deterrence — in the face of Islamic terrorism and Iran — is a life insurance policy for the Hashemite regime and other pro-U.S. Arab regimes in the Middle East.

Connecting the dots of the increasingly turbulent Arab street underscores the recklessness of past pressure on Israel to retreat from the Golan Heights, as well as the current pressure on Israel to withdraw from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria. These hills dominate the border with Jordan (the Jordan Valley) and overlook Jerusalem, Israel’s international airport and 80 percent of Israel’s infrastructures and populations in the 9- to 15-mile sliver along the Mediterranean (the pre-1967 Israel). An Israel without the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria would be transformed from a producer to a consumer of national security; from a strategic asset to a strategic burden.

Connecting the dots of the increasingly turbulent Arab street exposes the gullibility of well-intentioned peace negotiators, who consider the Arab Tsunami an Arab Spring, transitioning into democracy, embracing Western norms of peaceful coexistence, compliance with agreements and civil liberties. They believe that a signed agreement can erase a 14-century-old shifty and devious culture. They ignore the fact that the Arab-Israeli conflict has never been “the Middle East conflict,” that the Arab Tsunami has revealed the Palestinian issue as a marginal player in Middle Eastern politics, and that the Palestinian issue has never been the crown jewel of Arab policy making or the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. They ignore the reality-driven analysis by the Saudi Arab News, thus pressuring Israel to go through suspension of disbelief, lowering its security threshold and relying on peace-driven security, rather on security and deterrence-driven peace, while the Arab street is boiling.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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