When I was a high school student in the sixties of the last century, I was the leader of a scouting squad in my school.
On one occasion, I gave a speech to the students about the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The Arab and Islamic nation was boiling and Nasser ignited the enthusiasm of the masses with his fiery speeches. The war with Israel seemed to us like a short picnic to throw the Zionists into the sea after they dared and disgraced the nation’s honour.
My speech was full of passion and I roared, “If the bombs run out, this is my body, take it and throw it at the Zionists, so that it explodes with oppression and anger.” We participated in many demonstrations, demanding victory, but June’s defeat happened. I remember at that time I was plunged into a state of astonishment and complete denial of what had happened. The only occasion that was not a catastrophe in our history was the October 1973 War. It was a duel between the armies and it officially ended five years after its outbreak with the Camp David Accords. It was later revealed that Sadat was right and in the early 1990s the Arabs entered into peace talks with the Israelis in Madrid and elsewhere. These talks led to peace with Jordan and understandings with Palestine.
Movements emerged under the guise of resistance, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and the Lebanese Hizbollah. All these brought devastation and destruction to Lebanon under the pretence of liberating Jerusalem.
Why do I cite all these facts? Because history is substantial in comprehending the reality and reading the future as well as to explain why I consider Bahrain’s decision to establish diplomatic relations with Israel is a wise and courageous move. The time has come to put an end to the state of non-war and non-peace that has prevailed between Arabs and Israel for more than 40 years. Many resources have been wasted and decades of development have been lost because of this conflict. So why not give ourselves a chance to try peace?
Whoever wants to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem must prove his sincerity by deeds and not words; Bahrain and the UAE have taken the initiative and acted accordingly. I am optimistic about a more stable and prosperous future for all, including the Palestinians, whose leaders must accept reality. We don’t tolerate anyone who threatens our security and peace. Whoever wants to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem should do it with actions, not words. Why does Iran threaten us as usual? Why doesn’t it send its army, including the Quds Force, to liberate Palestine and Jerusalem?
I will not allow anyone to doubt my love for Palestine and the right of the Palestinians to live in peace and dignity, as I am still that young man in the Scouts who is full of enthusiasm and passion towards the Palestinian cause. But I remain a practical person who perceives things as they are on the ground, not as we desire and hope for them to be. I have fears of normalisation with Israel, and Israel possesses a mighty armed force, but in return, it has very soft and very strong political, diplomatic, economic and intellectual strength. These are both dangers and opportunities at the same time. We must be extremely cautious in the next stage, so that the collaboration relationship we build with Israel is equal.
Do we want to defy Israel? We have, in front of us, new arenas to prove ourselves, these are the arenas of science, trade, innovation, modern technologies, industrial intelligence, pharmaceutical industries, scientific research centres, universities, and others. We must prove that we are a nation worthy of respect. Stop talking. And let’s get to work.