After declaring the reconciliation between Turkey and Israel, journalist Ahmad bin Rashid bin Saeed tweeted: “Restoring relations with the Zionist entity was moral and for the sake of our people in Gaza. He who denies that is either tendentious or ignorant.”
Bin Saeed slammed the visit by retired Saudi General Anwar Eshki to Palestine upon the invitation of the Palestinian Authority (PA), saying he who betrays Jerusalem will be forever cursed. Who is the tendentious or ignorant one? The occupation must not obstruct communication with Palestine and its people, including Arab citizens of Israel.
The hashtag “Saudis against normalization” was recently launched. There is no doubting the honesty of the intentions of most of those tweeting it. Those whose aim is to aid Palestine must be respected, even if there are different viewpoints.
However, two categories are not worthy of respect: that which supports Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s recent attack against the Saudi kingdom, and that which puts its partisan or regional affiliation before the national interest.
Israel and Iran
Hostility toward Israel is not based on it being Jewish, but on its occupation and crimes against the Palestinian people. You cannot accuse Israel of racism and be hostile toward Jews. Our problem is with Zionism, not Judaism. If you are hostile against a religion or sect, you become similar to your enemy - this is the worst defeat.
However, it is impossible to be neutral toward a party that acts as Israel does, such as Iran, because the struggle relates to causes and practices, not to identities, religions, people or races. What is really disappointing is that the practices of Iran, a Muslim country, are worse than those of Israel.
The latter occupies Palestine and Syria’s Golan Heights, while Iran - via its militias and Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) - occupies lands and commits acts of terror in Emirati islands, Bahrain, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon. Arab victims of Iran have in a few years exceeded the number of those martyred in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Tehran succeeded in achieving in Palestine what Israel failed to achieve over decades. Iran turned the Palestinian cause into a power struggle, dividing Palestinians and causing them to fight each other. Due to Iran’s interference in Arab countries, destruction spread and only Israel enjoyed security.
These facts are not to commend Israel, but to slander Iran and those who support it. There is nothing wrong with saying Iran is more of a threat than Israel. Through arms, funds and propaganda, Tehran has managed to cultivate loyalists in Arab countries. These people obey Iran even if is against their own country’s interests.
Israel will not be able to achieve what Iran has, despite their cultural and practical similarities, their sense of superiority over Arabs, their occupation of land and their practice of terrorism. Unfortunately, Iran’s terrorism and occupation are worse than Israel’s.
Our problem is not with Shiites or Alawites, but with Iran and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. We will support peace with Iran if it decreases its evil to the level of Israeli evil. This reflects Tehran’s most important achievement: embellishing Israel.
Options for Palestine
Many have participated in the hashtag “Saudis against normalization,” including those who do not believe in peace. This is their respected opinion. Those who call for peace believe in confronting Israel in a different way, as peace imposes on Israel commitments and burdens. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were launched in 1992 but halted in 2002. The situation of Palestinians back then was better than it is now.
Some may say Israel does not want peace. This strengthens the viewpoint that it is more harmed by peace than by the absence of war, or by war itself. Which Arab country or organization has a clear and practical plan to liberate Palestine?
Syria has not fired a single bullet toward the Golan in decades. Assad wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledging stability along the border. Assad prefers to murder his own people, while Hezbollah has been massacring Sunnis in many places. Ironically, they are committing their crimes under the excuse of the Palestinian cause and hostility toward Israel. Fools believe them, and they are many.
Peace is achieved among enemies, not friends. The peace process was originally for the sake of Palestine. There is no contradiction between that and commitment to serving the Palestinian cause. An example is how Turkey deals with the Arab-Israeli conflict. Ankara has ties with Israel, but no one can accuse Turkey of being biased against Palestine.
The Turks serve their own interests, and we must serve ours. We cannot be more Palestinian than the Palestinians. There is no contradiction between them struggling for their cause and communicating with Israel.
We must get rid of the mediator and establish a direct network of interests with Israel that can constitute a tool of pressure to achieve peace and support the PalestiniansAhmed Adnan
The option of peace gains its legitimacy from the Arab initiative, and before that from international decisions and treaties. The idea of boycotting Israel was created - despite its historical, logical and religious flaws - to besiege it and reject occupation. Following decades of this approach, we ended up with the Judaization of Jerusalem and a siege of Palestinians, so why continue to insist on it?
The idea of a just and neutral mediator is a myth. It is a diplomatic description of American and European mediation that is biased toward Israel, while the Arab definition of justice and neutrality means being biased toward us. This is thoughtless.
Any mediator will be biased toward his or her own interests, which most of the time chime with Israel’s. We must get rid of the mediator and establish a direct network of interests with Israel that can constitute a tool of pressure to achieve peace and support the Palestinians.
These theories belong to a past generation that failed in peace and war. Despite that, some want the new generations to carry the responsibility of these theories and their failures. A new approach in the Arab-Israeli conflict may yield better results, especially with regional and international developments going against us.
The option of peace is not directed against Palestine but for it. All tools of struggle are legitimate and complement one another. Our problem is with the enemies of normalization, since they adopt an unbalanced definition of it.
The issue is not about Eshki or Israel, but about the interests of Saudi Arabia and Palestine. However, for some the approval of Turkey’s sultan, the IRGC or Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood must be attained at all times. These people are neither worthy of respect nor attention.
Others want to impose a failed culture. What is the difference between their behavior and that of Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)? If we disagree with Islamists they accuse us of infidelity, and if we disagree with nationalists they accuse us of treason. However, the political arena fits everyone and must benefit from everyone.
This article was first published in alarab.co.uk on Monday, August 8, 2016.
Ahmed Adnan is a Saudi journalist who writes on regional issues.SHOW MORE