Palestinians and Arabs Could Benefit So Much From Peace With Israel
When US President Donald Trump stated that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel, he was merely acknowledging what everyone already knew. Jerusalem has been the heart of Israel for over 3,000 years — and, like it or not, has served as the Jewish state’s administrative center for the past 70 years.
But that didn’t stop the Arab nations from condemning, vilifying, and even threatening the US. This despite the fact that under Israel’s control, Jerusalem has been a city open to people of all religious backgrounds, and its holy sites are open to everyone without restriction. This certainly was not the case when the city was ruled by Arab Muslims.
Let us not forget that the Arab states rejected the UN Partition Plan of 1947, which would have created a Palestinian state. The Arabs wanted war so that they could throw the Jews into the sea. But they failed. And so, the Arabs tried again, and again, and again — each time losing more and more territory to Israel.
Only Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was smart enough to try a different approach, and managed to regain the Sinai Peninsula from Israel by offering peace. All Israel wants, surrounded as it is by over 20 Arab countries, is to live quietly in its little corner of the Middle East.
Arabs say that Jerusalem is sacred to Muslims, but it is also sacred also to the Jews and Christians. Muslims tend to sidestep the fact that they also have Mecca and Medina, in addition to numerous holy sites in Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Egypt.
The Jews, meanwhile, have this one holy city, which they happily open to all. Arab states should instead focus on all the ways in which Israel has surpassed them. It is the only true democracy in the region, it is a first-world country in a backward Middle East, and it is a world leader in technology, medicine, and other fields of science.
All the Arab states have managed to export of late is terrorism.
And yet, many in the Middle East, from Gaza to Lebanon to Iraq to Iran, still believe that in order to achieve peace and stability in the region, Israel must be destroyed.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir’s famous quote still rings true for me as an Arab living in this twisted reality: “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”
We Arabs should have taken a lesson from the Japanese, who knew that following World War II, they could not continue to view America as an enemy if they wanted to move forward. And so, despite the fact that America had nuked two of their cities, the Japanese began a new chapter, in which America was portrayed as a friend, partner — and, eventually, an ally. It was this courageous first step that enabled Japan to emerge from the ashes of World War II and become the advanced first-world nation it is today. The Palestinians and Arabs must do the same.
Rami Dabbas is a civil engineer by profession who writes for several media outlets. He is a pro-Israel advocate, peace campaigner, and political activist speaking out against terrorism. A version of this article was originally published in Israel Today magazine.