Time to pursue the Palestinian cause intelligently

The United States administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel was a disappointing notion for the Arab and Muslim Worlds, but it should not have surprised us. The United States has been clearly and explicitly supporting the State of Israel for decades, using very precise political and economic means. The Arab World’s repeated call for the United States to play the role of fair arbitrator is based on an illusion, conceived by Arabs and Muslims, that contradicts reality.

Our tendency in the Arab World to express our anger in an extreme manner is a cultural trait that is much more likely to affect us negatively than to support our position. I have watched the burning of the American and Israeli flags on hundreds of occasions probably; invariably, the outcome was that we were left with the ashes of the flags – and the occupation of additional land. Furthermore, in an attempt to regain our occupied lands, many Arabs advocate for boycotting American products that are sold in the Middle East, while others express their sympathy for the Palestinians by using the Al Aqsa Mosque as the profile image on their social media accounts.

These kinds of reactions are well intentioned, but they have absolutely no impact on either the State of Israel or the United States. Both nations are well established politically and have strong economies that won’t be affected by such gestures. We need to think of our strengths as Arabs, explore the most effective methods that the world understands and values today, and stop insisting on resorting to means that give us pleasure or make us feel heroic; both are personalized responses that work on boosting the status of many individual politicians – with zero value to the Palestinians.

A true Arabs dilemma is that the world perceives Israel’s use of military and security troops to fight Palestinians as a legitimate, but Palestinians throwing stones at Israeli troops are seen to be committing violent acts. We are living in an era when no one wants to watch violence on the air, even if it is committed by victims. This phenomenon should stimulate us to explore other means with which to convey our anger, methods that are more valued by the world today than those that we have been using for decades.  As for suicide bombers who target innocent civilians; this is clearly defined as a terrorist act.

The majority of the world’s citizens certainly sympathize with the Palestinian cause, their decade-long daily suffering, and their displacement from their homeland. Nevertheless, the world is ruled by powerful nations, not by the accumulated sympathy of its inhabitants. Still, there is room for achieving success by peaceful means. We need to work on influencing nations with our political arguments. It is a lengthy and protracted process, but would probably lead to better results, with fewer causalities.

We Arabs need to renew the battle for communicating our case to the World peacefully and intelligently. Eventually, we will be able to build a clear case based on strong arguments – and many nations and universal citizens will support us. While the Palestinians have tried this method before, they have been alternating between using peaceful means and expressing their anger in demonstrations and protests. We need to use this method only and exclusively. It will be a long battle, but one that is certainly worth undertaking.

I do not contend in this commentary that the world is a fair place! On the contrary, injustice is extremely intense and widespread, and it has affected the Palestinian people more than citizens of any other nationality. Nevertheless, we have already tried many methods, often affiliated with elements of aggression. The outcome has been the occupation of more Palestinian land by the Israeli State and the heaping of blame on the Palestinians for their violence. These results should have prompted us to explore other methods much earlier. It is high time to do so now.

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