By Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute—
A growing number of Arabs, particularly those living in the Gulf, say they finally understand that Israel is not the enemy of the Muslims and Arabs. This change of heart manifested even before the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed peace agreements with Israel during a ceremony at the White House on September 15. It is the direct result of the expansionist ambitions of Iran and Turkey in the Arab world and the feeling among Arabs that those two states pose the real threat to their national security.
Until recently, it was unimaginable to see Arabs openly admitting that they had been mistaken in their belief that Israel was the enemy of the Muslims and Arabs. Now, Arabs seem to have no problem saying that they were wrong all these years about their attitude toward Israel. These Arabs now are saying out loud that Iran and its proxies in the Arab world, and not Israel, are the real enemies of Arabs and Muslims.
Until recently, most Arab writers, journalists and political activists avoided any form of criticism of the Palestinians. Such criticism was considered taboo in the Arab world: the Palestinians were considered the poor spoiled babies who were suffering as a result of the conflict with Israel. Now, however, one can find in Arab media outlets more criticism of the Palestinians and their leadership than in Western media, or even in Israeli media.
Until recently, for most Arabs, the terms peace and normalization (with Israel) were associated with extremely negative connotations: humiliation, submission, defeat and shame. No longer. Many Arabs are openly talking about their desire for peace with Israel. These Arabs are saying that they are looking forward to reaping the fruits of peace with Israel and that it is time that Arab countries prioritize their own interests.
Of course, none of this means that the entire Arab world has changed course and is ready to recognize Israel and establish relations with it. The voices of the Arabs and Muslims who reject any peace treaty with Israel remain vocal and representative of the sentiments of the majority of the people in the Arab and Islamic countries, especially those that have not educated their public for peace.
Yet, it is remarkable to see how an increasing number of Arabs are airing their views regarding Israel and the Palestinians in the public sphere. The message coming from these Arabs: “We helped the Palestinians for many years; we gave them money; we gave them weapons, and some of us even fought wars with Israel because of them. In the end, we discovered that our Palestinian brothers are ungrateful, obstinate, lack good leadership and are refusing to move on with their lives.” The Arabs are telling the Palestinians: “You no longer have a veto on peace with Israel.” Continue Reading….