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Friday, January 21, 2011

We can learn from how Arabs and Israelis treat former leaders (Zvi)

From Zvi, in a comment to this post on Mahmoud Abbas quashing a pro-Tunisian demonstration:

In Asharq al-AwsatAbdul Rahman Al-Rashed laments the fact that with the possible partial exception of the shaky Iraqi government, the Arab way of governing is one that fosters dictatorships, making coups and violent conflagrations the only ways in which a society can retire its ruler. He contrasts this way of doing things with the method pursued today in the west, in which the broadly respected institutions of the state are designed to permit the replacement of governments without violence. 
At the other end of the spectrum, there is IsraelEretz Nehederet has a humorous take on the life of a former Israeli prime minister.
The typical Arab ruler - including the typical Palestinian ruler - operates constantly in a frame of reference in which he must intimidate detractors and dissidents within his own population - anyone who would oppose him or simply seek a different way - wielding the threat of state violence like a machete. The typical Arab ruler thinks that he cannot afford to allow dissent, difference or opposition to grow, because this could literally bring him to his death.
Is it any wonder, then, that the typical Arab ruler habitually turns to the same violent or underhanded tools when considering the presence of a country that has been painted as his enemy for several generations?
The typical Israeli leader has a very different political makeup. He often finds himself forging coalitions with his opponents, often including people with strongly opposed viewpoints on important issues. Debates in the Knesset sometimes resemble a shouting match, and he cannot count even on members of his own party. Using violence to keep his supporters in line and punish his opponents is a completely alien concept, which he encounters only when dealing with the neighboring regimes and their terrorist flacks.
Israeli leaders carry their experience to the negotiating table, just as Arab leaders do.
And it shows.