Sanders drops 2020 bid, leaving Biden as likely nominee    Egypt's parliament postpones plenary meetings until 29 April    UK PM Johnson is stable in hospital, responding to treatment: Spokesman    Economic reform programme allowed Egypt to bear repercussions of coronavirus: PM    Masked crowds fill streets, trains after Wuhan lockdown ends    Germany moves to make it easier to block foreign takeovers    Eastern Libya confirms first coronavirus case    PSG launch crowdfunding platform to fight coronavirus    Egypt approves first issuance of sukuk by Talaat Mostafa subsidiary    Tottenham tell players to follow social distancing rules    Brazilian star Ronaldinho to be freed from Paraguayan jail into house arrest    Euro zone fails to reach a deal on new coronavirus stimulus    Ethiopia declares state of emergency to curb spread of COVID-19    Egypt launches mobile application to track coronavirus cases    The veil begins to lift on COVID-19: What we know so far    Facebook launches new chat app for couples    Amazon to suspend delivery service to compete with UPS, FedEx in U.S.    Egypt's net foreign reserves fall to $40.1 bln in March –    EgyptAir to operate special flight to Canada Wednesday    Madbouly orders continued work of factories, firms to meet Egyptians' needs    Egypt quarantines Giza village for 2 weeks due to coronavirus    The Minister of Culture launches the electronic initiative "Stay at Home: Culture in Your Hands" on the Internet    Stay at home and TAM gallery will bring art to you    MPs' work continues    Egypt's Awqaf Ministry halts religious activities during Ramadan    The golden age of Egyptian cinema    EFA to raise funds for players in lower divisions amid coronavirus    Egyptian Fine Arts Syndicate organises exhibition to help artists amid coronavirus    Egypt's swimmer Osman quarantined in Red Sea resort after returning from US    Egypt's Zamalek to extend Carteron's contract after end of coronavirus    Comedy puppet Abla Fahita returns to screens during Egypt's curfew    Egypt's Supreme Council of Culture launches three new competitions    Prosecution warns of EGP 300k fine or 2-year jail for spreading fake coronavirus news    Egypt, MENA growth forecast at 2.7%, -0.3% respectively: IIF    Al-Sisi discusses joint coronavirus efforts with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince    Saudi Arabia intercepts missiles over Riyadh    CBE temporarily regulates cash deposits, withdrawals    Lagging COVID-19 response to shield frail economy: Rouhani    Farwell to Egyptian comedian George Sidhom    Weekend's virtual concerts, plays, and festivals people can stream at home    Brazilian football stadiums transformed into hospitals to treat coronavirus patients    Amid coronavirus outbreak, Egyptian Premier League cancellation seems inevitable    Stay At Home: Ministry of Culture to publish free books online for public browsing    Ethiopia has not sent Egypt latest designs for GERD: Minister of Irrigation    Nigerien President hails Egypt's diplomatic attempts to reach agreement over GERD    Al-Sisi appreciates Kenya's support to Egypt's stance on GERD    Cairo court acquits Mubarak's sons of stock market manipulation    Egypt's President Sisi pardons some prisoners on 25 Jan. Revolution anniversary    

Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.

Arab policy and generosity
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 01 - 11 - 2018

The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) Central Committee's recent decision to suspend recognition of Israel throws into relief an ingrained weakness in Arab policy in general: the willingness to volunteer concessions in order to morally oblige the other party to reciprocate. This tendency spread epidemically in the Arab world since the 1970s when President Amwar Al-Sadat took the initiative to recognise Israel practically and officially when he visited it in November 1977 after which he gave Israel the time and space to consider its next step. Critics at the time agreed that the Egyptian action would have been more generous had the recognition on the part of the largest Arab state come within a comprehensive framework for a political settlement that designated the obligations of both sides.
I still recall how the Israelis toyed with us at the time. When asked how he planned to respond to Sadat's visit, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin answered that he would visit Sadat in Egypt. If Egypt eventually obtained more than just the Israeli prime minister's return call, this was thanks to more than a decade of painstaking efforts until the day when Egypt finally raised its flag on its eastern border, in Taba, in 1989.
Sadat followed the generosity tactic four years before that Jerusalem visit when he expelled the Soviet advisers from Egypt without obtaining anything in return from the US. The US secretary of state and national security adviser at the time, Henry Kissinger, expressed his government's surprise at the Egyptian decision as Washington would have been willing to pay for it had Egypt negotiated on it beforehand.
The Arabs adhered to the policy of volunteering concessions after the Sadat era and Israel continued benefit, entering into negotiations only at the time and at the pace of its choice, if it felt like negotiating and if it decided to offer some gesture of reciprocation. Perhaps the best example of the syndrome is the Arab Peace Initiative. Coming more than 20 years after Sadat's death, it offered Israel recognition, normalisation and everything else it had asked for in exchange for withdrawal from the occupied territories and the establishment of a Palestinian state. The Arab side of that initiative has since become an implicit and explicit reality that many Arab countries have manifested politically, economically and even athletically. Yet, Israel has not withdrawn a single centimetre from the occupied territories and it barely pays lip service to the principle of a Palestinian state, for which obstinacy, moreover, it was rewarded with Jerusalem as its capital on a silver platter.
I personally heard the US journalist Thomas Friedman relate how he had managed to convince the late Saudi monarch, king Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz, that the Arab initiative would be, as he called it, a total “game-changer” in the Middle East because it would force Israel to face up to its responsibilities and because international pressures would build up on Israel to reciprocate. Friedman got the response he had anticipated from the Arabs thanks to their legendary generosity. They adopted the Arab initiative in the Arab summit in Beirut in 2002, ever since which they put into effect their obligations without waiting for Israel to concede to the terms that apply to it.
It was not until last week that the Israeli prime minister, who is more hated internationally than all his predecessors, welcomed that initiative. This was during an official visit to Oman accompanied by his wife, Sara, who is stalked by charges of corruption. Then, the following day, we saw the Israeli minister of culture and sports fighting back tears of emotion as Emirati ministers rose to standing when the Israeli national anthem played during her official visit to the UAE. Meanwhile, there is still no sign of Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories or a move in the direction of the creation of the Palestinian state that the Arab initiative called for.
So, the PLO did well when, in its last meeting in Ramallah, after the Palestinians finally awoke and reassessed their previous policies that gave Israel so much in return for so little, it voted to terminate all the PA's obligations under previous agreements with Israel and to suspend recognition of that state until Israel recognises the Palestinian state in the pre-June 1967 borders with its capital in East Jerusalem. At last, for the first time, the Palestinians applied the principle of simultaneous reciprocation, which is the norm in international affairs.
At the same time, we should note that, in fact, the Palestinians do not need Israel's recognition for their state. The international instrument that approved the creation of the state of Israel was the same international instrument that approved the creation of the Palestinian state. I refer here to the Partition Resolution adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 1947. That we waiting for the Palestinian state to emerge as a result of an extra Israeli stamp of approval, as well, is another manifestation of the futility of the Arab approach. The Arabs should have addressed the international community which had already recognised the Palestinian state in 1947 and the individual members of which did so, again, officially, instead of relying on Israel which only accepted the half of the partition resolution that applies to itself and that it uses as a basis for legitimacy while it continues to reject the other half.
The Palestinian decision to suspend recognition of Israel until Israel recognises the Palestinian state is, in effect, an attempt to apply both halves of the UN Partition Resolution, as opposed to the warped way that Israel applied it. This should compel the international community to face up to its responsibility to implement the whole resolution, in all its parts, instead of waiting for the types of Arab generosity that have remained unrewarded for so many years.

Clic here to read the story from its source.