‘Di­a­logue vi­tal to end rifts’

‘Need to bridge gaps for peace’

Arab Times - - LOCAL -

“DE­SPITE the role played by the ‘Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion’ to found the State of Is­rael, the per­se­cu­tion of the Jews in cen­tral and east­ern Europe led to the es­tab­lish­ment of Is­rael, say founders of the state,” colum­nist wrote for daily.

“How­ever, the elite who were in­volved in found­ing Is­rael were not iden­ti­cal com­pared to the per­son­al­ity of Chaim Weiz­mann or Baron Roth­schild al­though the for­mer was the first pres­i­dent of Is­rael. More­over, he was one of those Jews who had es­caped the an­ni­hi­la­tion cam­paign that was car­ried out in Poland, Ro­ma­nia, Ger­many and Rus­sia.

“From these coun­tries, many Is­raeli lead­ers in­clud­ing David ben Gu­rion, Yitzhak (Isaac) Shamir, Shi­mon Peres, Yi­gal Al­lon, Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak mi­grated to Is­rael from Poland where the num­ber of Jews in this coun­try was re­duced from three mil­lion in 1938, one year prior to the World War II to just 20,000 at the mo­ment.

“As a mat­ter of fact, Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion or ‘Bal­four Pledge’ did not make Is­rael, it was just a doc­u­ment that could be hon­ored or not, or could even be for­got­ten to such an ex­tent, we would not have been in a po­si­tion to know the real rea­sons be­hind the foun­da­tion of Is­rael and we would have to know how to ne­go­ti­ate with them.

“How­ever, it seems the Euro­pean racism and the per­se­cu­tion of the Jews in Europe, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing that pe­riod which be­gan at the out­set of the 19th cen­tury up to the Holo­caust, was the rea­son for the cre­ation of Is­rael.

“Any­way, when I men­tion the Is­raeli lead­ers, the name of Yi­gal Al­lon sur­faced in my mind be­cause this man was the leader of the Pal­mach sol­diers who were in­volved in at­tack­ing the Arab vil­lages dur­ing the Arab/Is­raeli war of 1948.

“He had been ap­pointed deputy to the Is­raeli prime min­is­ter Golda Meir when the lat­ter formed the gov­ern­ment fol­low­ing the death of Levi Eshkol in 1969.

“In ad­di­tion to hold­ing the post of deputy pre­mier he was also the Is­raeli min­is­ter of ed­u­ca­tion and cul­ture. In this con­text, I like to men­tion here that I lis­tened to a lec­ture given by him at the Michi­gan Univer­sity in 1977.

“I in­ter­rupted him when I was about six me­ters away from him but I paid a heavy price for my be­hav­ior. Dur­ing that time, I came to know that he is not just a mil­i­tary leader but had stud­ied phi­los­o­phy at the Ox­ford Univer­sity.

“In spite of my en­thu­si­asm for en­mity to­wards Zion­ism, I was fond of the Jewish singers Bob Dy­lan and Paul Si­mon. In this con­text, I would like to elu­ci­date here that most Arabs are not fa­mil­iar with the cul­tural, sci­en­tific, lit­er­ary and mu­sic her­itage of the Jews.

“This Jewish stand­ing can­not be at­trib­uted to ge­netic fac­tors, rather to a fact that the Jews have al­ways been liv­ing in so­ci­eties that har­bored hos­til­ity against them. Hence I see Zion­ism liv­ing in an il­lu­sion­ary world and be­lieved that the so­lu­tion to the Jewish prob­lem rests in found­ing a home­land for the Jews in Pales­tine.

“As a mat­ter of fact, we the Arabs need a per­ma­nent di­a­logue with the ed­u­cated Jewish elite, but it is need­less to say we shall not have the op­por­tu­nity to per­son­ally meet them, rather we shall have the op­por­tu­nity to read their books.

“Per­son­ally speak­ing, I have read the books of the Jewish au­thor Erich Fromm who be­longs to Frank­furt School for So­cial Sci­ence, where most of his school­mates mi­grated from Ger­many to the US when Adolf Hitler came to power in Ber­lin.

“Per­son­ally, for me, it was a qual­i­ta­tive shift to fa­mil­iar­ize my­self with the Jewish cul­tural her­itage and I be­gan with the last book that was pub­lished by Erich Fromm, but at the end I read the most im­por­tant two books one with the ti­tle ‘The Art of Lov­ing’ while the sec­ond ‘Escape From Free­dom’.

“As a mat­ter of fact, Erich Fromm, had nei­ther af­fected Theodor Herzl (The Chair­man of the First Zion­ist Con­fer­ence that was held in Switzerland in 1897) nor by Zion­ism, rather he was af­fected by Karl Marx, Sig­mund Freud and Jalal ad-Din Rumi the (Mus­lim thinker).

“I was also af­fected by the late Ab­del Wa­hab elMes­siri who had pub­lished ‘The Zion­ist En­cy­clo­pe­dia’. I met him twice, the first time in Ar­bor in 1976 fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of his ar­ti­cle in The New York Times news­pa­per un­der the ti­tle ‘The Zion­ism is Racist’, while the sec­ond time, it was in Kuwait — the day that is em­bed­ded in my mem­ory be­cause on that day I had made scores of copies of the el-Mes­siri ar­ti­cle in ques­tion.

“Af­ter that, I en­tered the of­fice of the eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor to give him a copy of the ar­ti­cle. How­ever, when he re­ceived it, I felt as if he wanted to tell me ‘I hope you will be more con­cerned about your stud­ies’.

“Any­way, af­ter 100 years of the ‘Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion’ I be­lieve in hold­ing a di­a­logue with the Jews even with those who be­lieve in the Zion­ist thought, but not with Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu and his group who hate the Arabs and are ar­ro­gant.

“In other words, Ne­tanyahu is a de­vel­oped ver­sion of Me­nachem Be­gin (the for­mer Is­raeli prime min­is­ter) who was ac­cused of ter­ror­ism by the Bri­tish al­though he was awarded the No­bel Prize for Peace.

“I don’t be­lieve our re­la­tion­ship can be de­fined by Hezbol­lah of Le­banon and Iran, be­cause they are striv­ing to achieve Per­sian in­ter­ests but the choice should not be Bashar Al-As­sad, Iran and Hezbol­lah on one hand and Ne­tanyahu on the other, be­cause the two choices are bad and any­one who at­tempts to pro­mote any of these can be called il­lu­sive per­son.

“Any­way, we are in an im­per­a­tive need of a di­a­logue with the Ira­ni­ans, the Jews, the Kurds and the Turks, pro­vided the meet­ings are not con­fined only to the politi­cians, be­cause the art and the cul­ture and the for­ma­tion of a vi­sion needs to be de­rived from a new un­der­stand­ing to­wards the his­tory be­cause this is some­thing nec­es­sary to en­able our chil­dren breath the fresh air in this re­gion.”



“Today, af­ter more than 100 years since the is­suance of the dec­la­ra­tion or the pledge by the then Bri­tish For­eign Sec­re­tary Arthur James Bal­four to Lord Roth­schild to grant the Jews a right to stay in a land that doesn’t be­long to them and estab­lish a home­land that doesn’t be­long ei­ther to them or the Bri­tish, we have ob­served that by do­ing so the Bri­tish gave hope for the Jews that was seem­ingly unattain­able,” colum­nist and pro­fes­sor wrote for

daily. “How­ever, the dec­la­ra­tion in ques­tion said ‘the gov­ern­ment of his majesty looks through an eye of sym­pa­thy to­wards the es­tab­lish­ing of na­tional home­land for the Jewish peo­ples as such it will ex­ert its ut­most for fa­cil­i­tat­ing this aim’.

“Any­way, if Bri­tain had looked through any eye of sym­pa­thy to­wards the Jewish peo­ple, its view was ex­tremely un­fair and full of vi­o­la­tions against the rights of the Arabs in Pales­tine.

“In other words, it aban­doned the rights and even vi­o­lated the text of the dec­la­ra­tion in ques­tion it­self, sim­ply be­cause it goes on to say ‘pro­vided this dec­la­ra­tion should not be un­der­stood as an op­por­tu­nity for vi­o­lat­ing the civil and the re­li­gious rights of the other non Jewish sects who are re­sid­ing in Pales­tine’.

“But fol­low­ing this dec­la­ra­tion, Pales­tine wit­nessed or­ga­nized op­er­a­tions since the very be­gin­ning of the dec­la­ra­tion in ques­tion and un­til forc­ing its peo­ple to leave their coun­try and this con­sti­tutes a gross vi­o­la­tion of the re­li­gious rights of the Pales­tini­ans and this was ev­i­dent through the per­sis­tent vi­o­la­tions against the Al-Aqsa Mosque to such an ex­tent the Pales­tini­ans have been re­peat­edly de­prived of per­form­ing their rites in this mosque.

“Now af­ter the lapse of one hun­dred years since the is­suance of the dec­la­ra­tion in ques­tion, the Pales­tini­ans still face dif­fer­ent types of in­jus­tice and vi­o­la­tions by the power of oc­cu­pa­tion.

“This hap­pens al­though the Arabs still suf­fer from di­vi­sions and strug­gles which have yet to stop be­cause of their neg­a­tive ef­fects against all Arab coun­tries as well as against the de­vel­op­ment of the hu­man be­ing in this part of the world.”

“Sud­denly, with­out a warn­ing, the earth shook. In less than 30 sec­onds, peo­ple came out onto the streets, oc­cu­py­ing the dusty squares. They were ter­ri­fied. This is a sum­mary of what I saw with my eyes, af­ter the earth­quake hit the earth’s crust. The tremors were felt by all the peo­ple — Kuwaitis and ex­pa­tri­ates,” colum­nist wrote for daily.

“What is strange is that most cit­i­zens and ex­pa­tri­ates do not have any kind of aware­ness about earth­quakes. This is of course be­cause no spe­cial­ist has ever ap­peared in any me­dia, and talked about what to do to sur­vive dur­ing earth­quakes.

“The panic that oc­curred on the evening the earth­quake was felt in Kuwait, and peo­ple rush­ing down the stairs from ‘sky­scrapers’ is clear ev­i­dence that peo­ple have not re­ceived any warn­ings be­fore in the event of such dis­as­ters, al­though sel­dom it hap­pens. Thank God there was no stam­pede or any in­juries, es­pe­cially when peo­ple with their chil­dren rushed down from build­ings crowded with ex­pa­tri­ates.

“I think we need to launch aware­ness cam­paigns, and even is­sue guid­ance brochures to help peo­ple tackle such sit­u­a­tions. If there is no nat­u­ral dis­as­ter, they can have a cul­ture that they can han­dle.”

“We ap­pre­ci­ate the cred­i­bil­ity of His High­ness the Prime Min­is­ter and com­mend his as­pi­ra­tion. We wish to see a new Cab­i­net that will be­come a sym­bol of what we de­sire to achieve,” wrote for daily.

“We know his hu­mil­ity in be­hav­ior and ag­gres­sion to­ward as­pi­ra­tion, and per­se­ver­ance to over­come ob­sta­cles. How­ever, per­se­ver­ance will not work with the rep­e­ti­tion of the same ap­proach, ex­ten­sive tol­er­ance and cold paci­fi­ca­tion. For this rea­son, the law­mak­ers de­vel­oped the idea of dry words to trig­ger the emo­tion of fol­low­ers for con­fronta­tion. This is ex­actly what hap­pened at the last par­lia­men­tary ses­sion, and the same sit­u­a­tion will con­tinue if we fol­low the same method.

“The Prime Min­is­ter has been able to prove that he is cred­i­ble in his ac­tions and there is no doubt about that in our minds but he’s now re­quired to keep min­is­ters that are well known for ded­i­ca­tion and virtue. He should also bring in oth­ers who re­main un­blem­ished and pa­tri­otic.”

“We must be wor­ried about what lies ahead for this tiny coun­try in a few days liv­ing on the sin­gle non­sus­tain­able oil rev­enue-and noth­ing more,”

wrote for daily. “The coun­try is sur­rounded by big­ger coun­tries hav­ing as­pi­ra­tions and con­tra­dic­tory poli­cies. (It is im­pos­si­ble to be clearer than this, con­sid­er­ing pub­li­ca­tion laws and the penalty, over and above the nat­u­ral rule of “avoid­ing risk”).

“We must be wor­ried, be­cause His High­ness the Amir’s mes­sage to the Na­tional As­sem­bly was a clear note of warn­ing that things are mov­ing at a very fast pace, with new things sur­fac­ing each day.

“We must be wor­ried and care about the fu­ture, be­cause it may re­quire the coun­try to aban­don the min­i­mum level of neu­tral­ity. It is then we’ll find our­selves in se­ri­ous dis­pute, which we never chose or ven­tured into. What shall we do if the cur­rent proxy war trans­forms to a real is­sue among coun­tries in the re­gion? What are we go­ing do in a sit­u­a­tion where sev­eral govern­ments, in­clud­ing Is­rael and the ad­min­is­tra­tion of Pres­i­dent Trump in­sti­gate trouble to push the coun­try into the ditch? Our sit­u­a­tion may turn out to be to­tal de­struc­tion? Let us be wor­ried and care.”

“All eyes are on the out­come of the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion by the Robert Muller Com­mit­tee un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the US Deputy Pros­e­cu­tor Gen­eral to de­ter­mine the al­le­ga­tion of Rus­sia med­dling in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in which Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is the sus­pect,” — Pro­fes­sor of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence at Kuwait Univer­sity- wrote for daily.

“It was a rude shock to everybody when a reck­less mo­torist stormed lower Man­hat­tan close to Ground Zero (the then World Trade Cen­ter or twin tow­ers) bombed dur­ing the Septem­ber 11 in­ci­dent, where he de­lib­er­ately knocked down pedes­tri­ans on the lane meant for bi­cy­cle rid­ers. Af­ter that ac­tion, he alighted from the truck rain­ing gun­shots and shout­ing Al­lah ‘O’ Ak­bar. A US po­lice shot at him im­me­di­ately and got him, so he is now ly­ing in a hos­pi­tal.

“The in­ci­dent, which claimed 8 lives and left 11 oth­ers with se­ri­ous in­juries, co­in­cided with Hal­loween. I would have taken the in­ci­dent to be a fourth level low stan­dard Hol­ly­wood movie scene if it was not re­ported by the news chan­nels across the world. It be­came known that the lone wolf — 29 years old Uzbek Sei­fllah Say­bouf, is a DAESH mem­ber.

“Dent­ing the im­age of Is­lam and Mus­lims has al­ways been the ma­jor in­ten­tion of western me­dia, which everybody is used to. My only fear is that the de­struc­tion might be ex­tended to other Mus­lim ar­eas that are al­ready in flames.”

— Com­piled by Zaki Taleb

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