The fact is, Israel is the only stabilizing force in this part of the world; instability is the natural state in the Middle East.
Hardline Islamists in Egypt. Photo: REUTERS
Speaking at the UN a few days ago, US President Barack Obama referred to the Arab-Israeli conflict as a “major source of instability” in the region.
Is our dispute with the Palestinians the source of the clash between the Islamic Brotherhood and the secularists in Egypt? Are we the reason millions of Egyptians from both sides have been pouring into Tahrir Square and slaughtering one another? Is it our fault Syrians are killing one another with both conventional and unconventional weapons? What does the bloodshed in Sudan have to do with us? Or the fighting between the Islamists and the secularists in Algeria? Were we to blame for the Iran-Iraq war? Was Egypt’s intervention – and use of chemical weapons – in the civil war in Yemen in the 1960s motivated by the Arab-Israeli conflict? Did Saudi terrorists crash planes into American buildings on 9/11 because of Israel?
THE ANSWER to all these questions is no, and the Americans are well aware of that fact. So are the Arabs. Arab hostility toward Israel, along with the terror attacks and wars launched on our country, began long before 1967, when the whole of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were in Arab hands.
And still they wanted to annihilate Israel. Why? At that time they had everything they define today as the source of the conflict, everything they are now demanding. So why did it never occur to them to make peace with Israel? The reason is simple: the territories are a pretext, an excuse for hostility, not its underlying cause.
If Israel didn’t exist, would the Arabs embrace each other? Would the region be a paragon of peace and harmony, of democracy, liberalism and prosperity? Would the Arabs be identified throughout the world with something other than terror? Arab tyrants have used Israel for decades. It has been painted as a demon, the source of all the suffering in the repressive regimes in the Middle East. If Israel didn’t exist, they would have to invent it. How else could they explain the poverty, corruption and rot in their countries? What good is Batman without a villain determined to destroy the city? How could the superhero justify his vigilantism except by extraordinary circumstances? Israel is not the source of instability in the region, just like Czechoslovakia was not the source of the tension with Nazi Germany. Instability is the natural state in the Middle East. The fact is, we are the only stabilizing force in this part of the world.
Translated from the Hebrew by Sara Kitai, [email protected]