Some of my colleagues sent me messages and tweeted about opposing the normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel. I was surprised that they did so, despite the fact that most of them are successful businessmen who are well aware that truth and facts are one thing and fiction is quite another.
I support the Palestinian cause and the right of the Palestinian people to live in peace. I also support their fight against both the Israeli occupation of Arab lands and Israel’s obstruction of the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. As for the state of no-war and no-peace that has prevailed for decades between Arabs and Israel, our capabilities have been depleted. It has only brought us more poverty and more problems and it is time to put an end to it.
Politics is the art of recognising reality, and flexibility is necessary for nations to continue their lives, as Israel is already a fait accompli. We have to ask ourselves whether the slogan of 1960s about “throwing the Jews into the sea” makes any sense now? Is it possible to organise a real collective Arab effort that Israel fears? Will the state of frustration, contempt, and resentment of the broad Arab masses towards Israel lead to the liberation of Jerusalem?
The policy of openness to Israel is not a danger to the Arabs, because eight million Israelis cannot occupy 350 million Arabs. Rather, I can say that this openness may be a danger to the Jews themselves. By blending with their Arab surroundings, they could well become a minority like the rest of the religions, sects, and races that inhabit this region dominated by the Arab Muslims.
When Israel occupied Sinai in 1967, I could not believe the scenes of Egyptian planes destroyed at their airports, but later the solution was the war that was followed by the peace that restored to Egypt its land and rights. So why should we delay peace today, when we know that it will inevitably come?
I dislike Israel. I think it is the cause of many of our problems as an Arab nation during recent decades. A peace initiative does not mean that we are required to love Israel. On the other hand, I love Palestine, but it is not necessary for me to love all the people I work with, but rather to deal with them on a daily basis for mutual benefit. This is the basis on which the West developed its civilisation.
The US demolished Japan in the Second World War in an unprecedented barbaric manner when it bombed the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear weapons, but what did Japan do after that? It decided to enter into peace with its enemies, and benefited from them and their progress, and became the third strongest economy in the world. In contrast, Vietnam and Cuba triumphed over America, but it was a victory tougher than defeat, as people there are still so far plunged into hunger and live in extreme poverty.
Openness to Israel is an opportunity for us to learn more lessons, on how science can create a state, how software companies can establish an economy, and how food self-sufficiency can be achieved in a region. On the other hand, those who claim to liberate Jerusalem like the Turks, the Iranians, Hizbollah, and Arab rulers like Saddam Hussein, Al Assad, Gadaffi, brought us nothing but tyranny and depleted the capabilities of their people.
A realistic reading of the current situation confirms that the UAE is right in opening the door to normalisation with Israel. What we have to do now is to strengthen our capabilities as Arabs, advance our economy, develop our resources and education. This is the best way to deal with our allies and fight our enemies.