Palestinians need help

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What we are witnessing today is the manifestation of what we always knew but did not want to accept as reality since it would have shattered our dreams, hopes, aspirations and expectations of a Middle East free of conflict, with a just, comprehensive and durable peace agreement between Israel and the Arab world based on the legitimate rights of the Palestinians and Arabs and coexistence.

Those dreams, hopes, aspirations and expectations lay shattered today; for it is clear that the Arab world seems unable to face the challenge posed by the arrogance and intransigence of Israel. Never before have we felt so disillusioned by Arab inaction in the face of the injustice meted out to the Palestinians.

Most of the Arab regimes today hope that the Palestinian problem would simply go away. But it would not; if anything, it is only growing and it is only a matter of time before the entire region may be embroiled in the fallout of Palestinian anger and frustration over the denial of their rights.

The stand that should be adopted by the Arabs is clear. It always was. Had the Arabs stood together and challenged Israel, particularly on the economic front, using the Arab oil wealth as leverage against Israel’s supporters, we would have had a different Middle East today. But then again, the conventional wisdom of strength in unity is usually used selectively by the Arabs. Indeed, some of them believe that a solution to the Palestinian problem lies in the Israeli way of handling it. Others believe that an independent and democratic Palestine would pose more problems than answer the present questions.

The Arab world did little to help the Palestinians. Granted, the Gulf Arabs paid billions of dollars to the Palestine Liberation Organisation and that money helped the PLO to assert itself as a liberation movement and Yasser Arafat to entrench himself as the symbol of the Palestinian struggle. But that money could never replace political action.

The question facing us today is simple and clear: the situation in Palestine is turning worse; Israel, which possesses some of the most advanced military weaponry, has declared war on the Palestinians who are only armed with determination and stones in their quest for freedom, independence and life in dignity. Are we going to see a shift in the Arab world towards helping them?

Mr. Musa Keilani contributed this article to the Jordan Times.

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