Israel News | Zionism Israel Center | Zionism History | Zionism Definitions | ZioNation | Forum | Zionism FAQ | Maps| Edit

Friday, January 5, 2007

It's not about Israel

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/01/its-not-about-israel.html

It's not about Israel

A number of voices in the international community have recently identified the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the root cause of many of the Middle East's problems. British Prime Minister Tony Blair and outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan have been among the most prominent of these voices.

In his article "A battle for global values," (Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007), Tony Blair reiterates what he has expressed in previous public statements: "How can we bring peace to the Middle East unless we resolve the question of Israel and Palestine?" Achieving peace, he continues, "would not only silence reactionary Islam's most effective rallying call but fatally undermine its basic ideology."

Kofi Annan, addressing the UN Security Council on December 12, said, "The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not just one regional conflict amongst many. No other conflict carries such a powerful symbolic and emotional charge even for people far away."

TRUE, GENUINE peace between Israel and the Palestinians would remove one of the long-standing conflicts in the Middle East. Moreover, to state the painfully obvious, peace would serve the best interests of those involved.

But to suggest, as Prime Minister Blair in particular does, that such a settlement is a necessary precondition for peace in the Middle East and would take the wind out of radical Islam's sails is unsupported by the facts.

Let's assume for a moment that Israel did not exist. Would that have changed the basic story line of the bulk of recent events in the Middle East?

Would Iraq and Iran have chosen not to pursue an eight-year war that cost more than a million fatalities? Would Iraq have decided not to invade Kuwait in 1990? Would it have rethought its use of chemical weapons against both its own Kurdish population and Iran?

Would Syria have refrained from slaughtering over 10,000 of its own citizens in Hama in 1982? Would it have relinquished its hold on Lebanon, as demanded by multiple Security Council resolutions?

Would Saudi Arabia have stopped exporting its Wahhabi model of Islam, with its narrow, doctrinaire view of the world and rejection of non-Muslims as so-called infidels, across the globe? Would al-Qaida not have attacked the US in 2001, when, it should be remembered, the Israeli-Palestinian issue was never even mentioned among Osama bin Laden's main "grievances"?

Would the danger posed by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan magically disappear absent the Israel factor? Would Iran today abandon its hegemonic ambitions in the region? Would the Shi'ite-Sunni split, with its profound political and strategic ramifications, evaporate into thin air? Would the Sudanese government stop its collusion with the Arab Janjaweed militias to end the massive murder and displacement in Darfur?

Would the desperate poverty and widespread illiteracy that dampen hope and create a fertile recruiting ground for radical Islamic movements suddenly be alleviated? Would Saudi women instantaneously have the right to drive, would non-Muslims finally enjoy equal rights in all those Arab countries where Islam is the official religion, and would the Baha'i no longer experience persecution at the hands of the Iranian government?

In reality, the destabilizing factors in the Middle East run far deeper than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Strikingly, while most Western political leaders mince their words, the courageous Arab authors of the annual Arab Human Development Report have not. They have spoken of three overarching explanatory factors for the region's unsatisfactory condition: the knowledge deficit, the gender deficit and the freedom deficit.

While there is no certainty of a successful outcome unless these three areas are addressed in a sustained manner, the Middle East, which ought to be one of the world's most dynamic regions, is likely to continue suffering from instability, violence and fundamentalism, irrespective of what happens on the Israeli-Palestinian front.

CONSIDER SOME of the important findings in the Arab Human Development Report and related studies:

• The total number of books translated into Arabic in the last 1,000 years is fewer than those translated in Spain in one year.

• Greece, with a population of fewer than 11 million, translates five times as many books from abroad into Greek annually as the 22 Arab countries combined, with a total population of more than 300 million, translate into Arabic.

• According to a 2002 Council on Foreign Relations report, "In the 1950s, per-capita income in Egypt was similar to South Korea, whereas Egypt's per-capita income today is less than 20 percent of South Korea's. Saudi Arabia had a higher gross domestic product than Taiwan in the 1950s; today it is about 50 percent of Taiwan's."

As Dr. A.B. Zahlan, a Palestinian physicist has noted, "a regressive political culture is at the root of the Arab world's failure to fund scientific research or to sustain a vibrant, innovative community of scientists." He further asserted that "Egypt, in 1950, had more engineers than all of China." That is hardly the case today.

According to the 2005 UN Human Development Report, only two Egyptians per million people were granted patents (and for Syria the figure was zero), compared to 30 in Greece and 35 in Israel.

In the 2005 UN report the adult literacy rate for women aged 15 and older was 43.6 percent in Egypt and 74 percent in Syria, while for the world's top 20 countries it was nearly 100 percent.

And finally, according to the current Freedom House rankings, the only country in the Middle East that is listed as "free" is Israel. Every Arab country is at best "partly free" or, worse, "not free."

The sad truth is that it is precisely political oppression, intellectual suffocation and gender discrimination that explain, more than other factors, the chronic difficulties of the Middle East. To be sure, there exist no overnight or over-the-counter remedies for these maladies that would allow the region to unleash its vast potential, but they are at the heart of the problem. It would be illusory to think otherwise.

The writer is executive director of the American Jewish Committee.


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/01/its-not-about-israel.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

0 Comments:

Post a Comment



<< Home


FREE EMAIL SUBSCRIPTION
Subscribe to
ZNN
email newsletter for this site and others

Powered by groups.yahoo.com


Feedblitz subcription
To this Blog only

You can receive our articles by e-mail. For a free subscription, please enter your e-mail address:


Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Web Logs & Sites

This Site

Zionism & Israel
Zionation Web Log
IMO Web Log (Dutch)

ZI Group
Zionism-Israel Pages
Israël-Palestina.Info (Dutch & English)
Israël in de Media
MidEastWeb Middle East News and Views
MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log

Brave Zionism
Israel: Like this, as if
Israel & Palestijnen Nieuws Blog

Friends and Partners
EinNews Israel
Israel Facts
Israel Proud Adam Holland
Middle East Analysis
Irene Lancaster's Diary
Middle East Analysis
Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israpundit
Israel Facts (NL)
Cynthia's Israel Adventure
Jeff Weintraub Commentaries and controversies
Meretz USA Weblog
Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers
Simply Jews
Fresno Zionism
Anti-Racist Blog
Sharona's Week
Z-Word Blog
Z-Word
Jewish State
Take A Pen - Israel Advocacy
Zionism on the Web
UN-Biased
ZOTW's Zionism and Israel News
Zionism On The Web News
ZOTW's Blogs
Christian Attitudes
Dr Ginosar Recalls
Zionism
Questions: Zionism anti-Zionism Israel & Palestine
Southern Wolf
Peace With Realism
Sanda's Place
Liberal for Israel
Realistic Dove
Blue Truth
Point of no Return
Christians Standing With Israel
Christians Standing With Israel - Blog
Liberticracia
CNPublications
SEO

Reference
Zionism
Anti-Semitism
Anti-Zionism
Encylopedic Dictionary of Zionism and Israel
Middle East Encyclopedia
Bible
Zionism and its Impact
Zionism & the creation of Israel
Zionism - Issues & answers
Maps of Israel
Christian Zionism Resources
Christian Zionism
Albert Einstein
Gaza & the Qassam Victims of Sderot
Islamism
Jihad
Zionist Quotes
Six Day War
Jew Hatred
Israel
Jew
Learn Hebrew
Arab-Israeli Conflict
International Zionism
Russian

Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel
Israel Boycott
Boycott Israel?
Amnesty International Report on Gaza War
Boycott Israel?
Dutch Newspaper Reporting: A Study of NRC Handelsblad
Hamas (Dutch)
Dries van Agt (Dutch)
Experimental
Isfake lobby
Mysterology

At Zionism On the Web
Articles on Zionism
Anti-Zionism Information Center
Academic boycott of Israel Resource Center
The anti-Israel Hackers
Antisemitism Information Center
Zionism Israel and Apartheid
Middle East, Peace and War
The Palestine state
ZOTW Expert Search
ZOTW Forum

Judaica & Israel Gifts
Jewish Gifts: Judaica:
Ahava Products
Mezuzah

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


RSS V 1.0

International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory