Time for Arab moderates to step up to the peace plate

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By Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

At no time has it been clearer that Israel does not want genuine peace with the Arab World.

What Israel wants is for Palestine to disappear and eventually, for the Arab World to go away, too.

Israel’s government has repeatedly rejected peace based on Two-States — Palestine and Israel. In Israel’s current election campaign, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has criticized his liberal foes arguing he will not do what they do, surrender land to “the Arabs.”

It is also clear that despite a well-intentioned Washington D.C. administration that prefers peace, President Obama is incapable of preventing Israel from destroying the peace process.

There is only one option left and that is to rally what’s left of the Arab World back to leadership. Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egypt’s President el-Sisi and Saudi Arabi’s King Abdullah need to come together and redefine the Middle East away from extremism and towards genuine and powerful moderation.

And that means starting by confronting Israel, first.

When it comes to Arab rights, Israel is the most extremist force in the Middle East. Israel’s current political leadership is the biggest threat to the survival of Arab World moderation.

The more Palestinians say they want peace, the more Israel takes steps to prevent peace.

King Abdullah II of Jordan, Wikipedia

King Abdullah II of Jordan, Wikipedia

This week, Israel suspended $127 million in funds it collected from Palestinian land owners in taxes and refuses to give it to the Palestinian government, hoping to force it into further disarray. And through its control of the U.S. Congress, it will deny another $400 million to the Palestinians, choking what’s left of Palestinian moderation.

Israel wants to destroy the Palestinian government because Palestinian chaos would give Israel even more power to do what it really wants to do: expel Muslim and Christian Arabs not only out of Israel, the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem and replace them with Jewish-only settlements.

Once the Palestinians are out of the way – Israeli extremism is built on long-term agendas – it will turn its power against the rest of the Arab World, including and especially moderate countries like Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The Palestinians are too weak to negotiate with Israel in part because Israel has severed the ties between Palestine and Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Those three Arab countries could easily replace the $527 million Israel has begun withholding from Palestine’s moderate government.

Ironically, Israel has become an accepted member of the Arab World. The Gulf Region is little more than an Israeli playground. Israel gets more respect from the technology-driven Dubai than the Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Arab World extremism continues to grow, battling in Iraq, Lebanon and in Syria. The “Arab Spring” is dead, and the extremism is fueled by the growth of Israel’s brutality. The rising religious fanaticism in the Arab World benefits Israel’s long term goals.

Blind to the reality, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are distracted by empty promises from the United States which is run by the U.S. Congress, which is controlled by Israel’s expert lobbying and manipulation.

The fact is that in American Democracy, politics and government are made to be manipulated. The fact that Israel has mastered the art of helping pro-Israel candidates defeat those that are pro-Peace is exactly what true Democracy is all about.

Democracy means anyone with strategy and money can manipulate the American political system. It’s not anti-Semitic to say Israel “controls” the U.S. Congress when it comes to Palestine – as it did this week by ordering Congress to suspend $400 million in US aid to moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. It’s a testament to the fundamental principles of Democracy that allows this to happen.

So why are Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia not engaged in the same Democratic Process as Israel? Why doesn’t Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia use their extensive leverage to influence the American Political system to push American to do what’s good for peace, rather than what’s good for Israel?

The best strategy to confront the rising tide of religious extremism in the Arab World is to stymie the rising fanaticism in Israel.

But that means that Jordan’s King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s President el-Sisi must do what the United States is incapable of doing. The three Arab countries can unite the moderate Arab World as one voice. They can demonstrate their opposition to religious extremism by focusing on the greatest religious threat in the Middle East today, Israel’s growing fanaticism.

That’s not to mean to “destroy” Israel. It means that Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia can help undermine the fanatics in Israel more easily than they can undermine the fanatics in the Islamic World, at least initially.

Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia can deliver a crippling blow to Israel’s fanatic Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by suspending all peace treaties and agreements with Israel, until Israel returns to moderation.

Believe me, if Israel were ever to become led by true moderates in government, the Arab World would become one powerful and peaceful place.

But as long as Israel’s extremists are allowed to do what they do unchecked, there is no hope to stop the rising wave of extremism. Not in the Arab World and not in the Middle East.

Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia need to act. Who else will defend the rights of Muslims and Christians, or defend Arab rights to the religious Holy sites, including Jerusalem?

Ray Hanania is an award-winning Palestinian American columnist managing editor of The Arab Daily News at www.TheArabDailyNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @RayHanania.

To find out more about Ray Hanania and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM

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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com ArabNews.com/taxonomy/term/10906
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