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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Arab hate and the zero-sum game

A very interesting editorial in the Gulf News illustrates Arab mentality. Here are some excerpts:
Arabs are better off now
By Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, Special to Gulf News
professor of Political Science at UAE University, Al Ain.


It is time to examine the outcome of the war on Lebanon after Israel lifted its aerial and naval siege, and the commitment of the concerned parties to the UN Security Council Resolution 1701.

This raises a question: Are Arabs better off or worse than they were before the war? There are four reasons why Arab governments and peoples are relatively in a better condition than they were before the war.

The first reason is attributed to Hezbollah's fierce and valiant resistance against the bad Israeli performance in the 33-day war. It boosted the confidence of the Arabs after they realised they have a significant source of potential power.

On the other side, the Israelis have lost faith in their government and army.

The controversial discussion about the quality and significance of the victory and the size of destruction caused by the war is legitimate and healthy. But, despite the massive destruction in Lebanon, the Arabs seem to be better off after the war.

Logically, when Israel is in a worse condition, which is the case now, Arabs are definitely better off.

Although Israel was not routed in the battle, it surely seems defeated and frustrated. It is also living in a state of doubt and comprehensive review of its military and political performance during the war.

The equation of victory and defeat between the Arabs and the Zionist state has always been and will remain zero equation. This means that when Israel is defeated, Arabs have the right to celebrate victory.
The idea that a conflict is a zero-sum game is not only laughably simplistic, it is wrong - unless one side wants it to be that way. Which shows very nicely how interested the Arabs are in ever reaching a peaceful solution with Israel, under any circumstances.

Israel looks at the conflict and says, "How can we improve the entire situation? What solutions can be advantageous to both us and our enemies?"

Real peace is not a zero-sum conclusion to a conflict - it is a win-win. This should be obvious to anyone besides UAE political science professors. If two nations are at peace, they save huge amounts of money for defense, money that can be used for constructive purposes. They can pool resources and help each other out. They can grow their economies together.

Westerners naturally look at problems and try to find win-win solutions. This article shows that such a thought is utterly foreign to articulate, seemingly moderate Arabs.

His point is so ludicrous - if Israel had killed a million Lebanese rather than a thousand, but still felt "defeated and frustrated," then his absurd logic would still consider this a victory for the Arabs.

Nice of him to think so highly of the Lebanese that he is willing to sacrifice them all to gain the illusion of victory.
The second reason can be attributed to the state of unity that dominated the Arab street in their reaction to the Israeli aggression. Arabs have become more unified in the face of the Israeli aggression.
[...]
Hatred of Israel can be found in the genes of all Arabs. Although it is hereditary, its intensity varies from time to time. All facts on the ground indicate that the Arab rejection of the Zionist entity reached its peak after the aggression.

The unification of Arabs in their deep enmity against Israel is a positive matter, but such feelings will not last forever, since they are influenced by the progress of the peace process in the region.
"We hate, and that's great!"

This is not a wild-eyed fanatic, a Muslim extremist, a Kalashnikov-toting terrorist. This is the professor of a university for a nation that has close ties with the West and is considered an ally.

And his words are pure hate.

How can anyone reasonably talk about a peace treaty when the Arab world is, by its own admission, consumed with a "hereditary" hate for Israel (which means, of course, a hatred that predates Israel.) This hatred is carried even to distant Arab countries that have nothing to gain from Israel's destruction - and it is considered a desirable character trait!

For such a people, peace is not an end state, but at best a tactic on the way to total victory. Until the Arab people stop their puerile 15th century thinking, there is absolutely no chance that Israel will live in peace and security, no matter how many concessions she makes.